50 Years Later: Associations Reflect On, Highlight Power of Moon Landing

As the Apollo 11 mission that brought Americans to the moon hits its 50th anniversary this week, many associations have taken small steps to reflect on an out-of-this-world moment.

It was a giant leap for mankind, so of course associations aren’t going to small-step the 50th anniversary of the original moon landing.

An eight-day mission, Apollo 11 first launched from Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969, and by the time astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had returned to Earth with command module pilot Michael Collins, they had spent nearly a full day—much of July 20, 1969—on the lunar surface.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics has gone all out to highlight the anniversary, including through the use of a Twitter “live”-stream that will highlight the trip, start to finish, on a 50-year time delay.

AIAA also has worked on a significant amount of coverage of the iconic event through a series of exhibits and events it has sponsored in recent months. Additionally, AIAA’s official magazine, Aerospace America, has featured a number of articles on the 50th anniversary of the Ianding.

In one article, space scholar John M. Logsdon, who was there for the 1969 launch, wrote:

The impact of the Apollo 11 landing was immediate, global and positive. Even today, most people who were old enough to understand what was happening can tell you where they were when Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon. Streets around the world were quiet as people crowded around television sets and radios. Newspapers around the world hailed the achievement in banner headlines. Two months after the Apollo 11 crew returned to Earth, the White House sent them on a 39-day, 24-country tour. Throughout their journey, the crew heard over and over the words we did it, with the we being humanity, not just the United States. There was almost universal identification with the moon voyage and admiration for the nation that had carried it out.

Of course, AIAA isn’t alone in celebrating the milestone moon landing. For example, the American Radio Relay League is helping promote a series of event stations that have been launched to help promote the anniversary. And AARP interviewed a number of major figures—including Queen’s Brian May, William Shatner, Al Roker, and former astronaut Cady Coleman—to ask them where they were 50 years ago, when man landed on the moon for the first time.

“I knew I wanted to be a rock musician, but the moon landing further confirmed that I needed to pursue astronomy, as well,” May, who moonlights as an astrophysicist, told AARP.

Buzz Aldrin, shown saluting the U.S. flag on the moon in 1969. (via NASA)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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