Nation Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of First Lunar Footsteps

Jul 20, 2019
Originally published on July 20, 2019 3:33 pm

Celebrations are in full swing at Cape Canaveral and across the country for the 50th anniversary of humanity's first footsteps on another world.

Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong was the first one out, proclaiming: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

At NASA's Kennedy Space Center, cars were backed up for miles Saturday morning outside the visitor complex. In Armstrong's hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, runners competed in "Run to the Moon" races.

The White House reiterated its goal to send astronauts back to the moon and "take the next giant leap — sending Americans to Mars."

Vice President Mike Pence headed to Kennedy Space Center to tour the Apollo 11 launch pad and give a speech.

Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin accompanied Pence Saturday and showed him the pad where he began that momentous journey 50 years ago. Aldrin later got a standing ovation during a speech by Pence.

Mission commander Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the moon on July 20, 1969, died seven years ago. Command module pilot Michael Collins did not attend the Florida celebration.

Pence says Apollo 11 is the only event of the 20th century that "stands a chance of being widely remembered in the 30th century." The vice president reiterated the Trump administration's push to put Americans back on the moon by 2024.

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