TenNineEightThreeTwoOneThose were the longest ten seconds of my life. Todays the sixteenth of July 1969, 8:32AM and Apollo 11 has taken off under clear skies from Cape Kennedy Florida, destination, the moon. Our lives are at the hands of thousands of scientists and many years of research. Piloted by a three-man crew, lead by me, Neil Armstrong.
Im not mad, I just have a dream, a dream since I was two, when my father took me to the National Air Races. From that day I ate, slept, and dreamt of flying. At age fifteen, I began my flying lessons. While other boys my age were learning to drive, I was learning to fly. I even achieved my pilots license before my drivers. Some people feel happy on the ground, but I was just the opposite of that. My happy place was flying, in the sky, with my Aeronca Champions Airplane. In 1949 I would be called to the navy, and I wouldnt have had it any other way. Through the navy I began studying aeronautical engineering and graduated from Purduc University where I received my bachelors in aeronautical engineering. I felt as if something was missing from my life. In 1962 I was one of the nine astronauts to be accepted by NASA to be part of President Kennedys plan to land an American on the moon. This, this is what I wanted to do, no doubt ever, since I was two this is what God had put me on this earth to do, and there wasnt a doubt in my mind I wasnt going to came through.
So here I am, Commander of Apollo 11 with my two co-pilots Edwin E. Aldwin, Jr. Lunar Module Pilot, be we just call him buzz, and Michael Collins Command Module Pilot. Its 11:49PM and the first critical maneuver mast be made. The Eagle is separating from Columbia and we have to dock the space craft head to head. Right now many things are going through my mind, yet my body is focusing on what Im supposed to do and Im pushing all the right buttons. The docking is successful and we are onto the 3rd stage as we continue on a straight path to the moon. I surrounded in total darkness, I just lay back and listen to the power of the engine and soak up the phenomenon that we are going where no man has gone before. (Tribune, 1, 2)
July 19,1969, it is 11:58 in the morning three days after the 3rd stage was completed and I look out the small cubic window to find a wonderful sight. The object which on earth, looks none other then a small ball of green cheese, shocks me a gigantic, massive, piece of art that no other could have created other than God himself. Two hundred miles above the moon, I fire the rockets to slow us down to a speed of 3,600 mph and we enter the moons orbit 60 miles above the moon. July 20, 12:46PM after 14 orbits of the moon the Eagle seating buzz and I separate from Columbia, leaving Michael, and off to make history. Its 2:08PM and I decide its time to release the landing gear and me and buzz to make out descent to the moon and to part of history. Knowing we have only two burns to drop in a safe landing site, my hands get shaky, and as I make the first burn I look out the window 50,000 ft. above the moons surface. Looking out the window I can see that our destined landing site is a field of boulders the size of New York football field. Then, out of nowhere, a potential serious problem occurs when two of the caution lights turn off by themselves. At this very moment, my whole flying career flashes by my eyes, I started to panic, and then I received a radio message that the threat isnt a problem and we can continue. So I wipe the sweat off my forehead and give a reassuring look to Buzz, giving me the thumbs up we get back on track. Buzz then explains we only have five minutes of flying fuel left in the craft. Acting quickly I decided to fly over the field of boulders and take my chances of there being a clear landing spot over them. Houston radios two minutes of fuel. 60 seconds. 40 seconds! a little later I announce, the Eagle has landed. (Tribune, 3)
All this time I wondered what I would say the moment I set foot on the moon. I remember my fathers old saying, take a step for others and then yourself. As I leap to meet my destiny I tell the world, thats one step for man, one giant leap for mankind. (Tribune, 3) My right foot touched the surface first them my left. I felt like I was walking on the clouds of heaven, at this moment I turned into the little excited two year old at the National Air Races, jumping and flying in the air. Buzz then reminds me of our task in hand and we pick up 47 pounds of samples, rocks, sands, nothing really unique if you ask me. I take 100 photographs of the moons beautiful surface. Just as I was leaving to board the Eagle I receive a phone call from President Nixon congratulating us on our job well done. To tell you the truth I would rather it been President Kennedy. He was the one truly behind all of this. Reminded of the political side of all this I reached into the back pocket of my suit and pulled out my nations flag. As I set it down deep into the moons crust making sure no alien would mess around with it, I felt it was only fitting that the American flag be set, as the 50 stars blended with the marvelous outer space background.I felt like it was about time to wake up and out of my dream, but it was real! (Tribune, 3)
At 4:35PM the Eagle docks back onto the Columbia and Buzz and I am reunited with our buddy, Michael. July 24, 1969, 11:21AM back on earth, back to reality, back home. Eight hundred and twenty miles from Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I think to myself, earth has its paradises too. I look to my fellow pilots, all safe and sound, and I ask myself where to next?