1969 was a year of renewed hope. The previous year had been filled with civil strife in America and people were in need of real heroes. In July of 1969, three men strapped themselves into the Apollo 11 spacecraft that would land them on the moon. For years, this journey only came to fruition in the minds of science-fiction writers. But now it was a reality. When Apollo 11 lifted off it was an awe-inspiring sight. This mission was unlike any of the previous ones. But at the same time as there was tremendous excitement, there was worry and panic. At mission control in Houston, restless engineers and scientists were keeping an eye on everything, praying that the spacecraft would do its job.
Apollo 11 took three days to get to the moon. The Lunar Excursion Module was the part of the craft that would land on the moon. So Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin boarded the spidery-looking vehicle and detached from the rest of the spacecraft. Michael Collins was the astronaut that remained behind orbiting the moon. The two astronauts steered the vehicle over the surface of the moon. With only seconds of fuel left, Neil Armstrong landed softly on the rocky surface of another world. This is the moment where the world stopped. Finally, all the mystery surrounding the moon was made physical as man landed on its surface.
Neil Armstrong stepped out on the surface a few hours later and uttered his famous quote: “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” Aldrin followed and for hours the two men walked on the surface of the moon. They planted the American flag and put a plaque down marking the mission. When it was time to head back to earth, Aldrin noticed that one of the switches to ignite the engine had come off. Using his own wit, he jammed a pen in the hole and fired the engines. The spacecraft returned to the orbiting Michael Collins and the three astronauts headed back to earth.