Where were you when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?

Just like today, it was a Sunday back on July 29,1969, when Wapakoneta, Ohio's Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. That was 45 years ago.

You may not have been born yet but you know what happened.

It was just before 11 p.m. when he took those first steps, saying "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Simply put, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on another world. Just take a moment to think about that.

Armstrong left us back in 2012 but not after becoming -- in my own opinion -- one of the two most famous astronauts in the world. The other is John Glenn, born in Cambridge, Ohio and raised in New Concord, Ohio, who celebrated his 93rd birthday on July 18.

Ohio may be known nationally as the "Cradle of Presidents" but I think of it as the cradle of famous astronauts.

Glenn was one of the Mercury Seven, the first astronauts NASA ever sent into space. Glenn would not only be the first American to orbit the earth, but the fifth person ever in space. Of course, Glenn went on to become a U.S. Senator from Ohio as well.

On Monday, NASA will honor Armstrong with a renaming ceremony of the historic Operations and Checkout Building at Cape Canaveral, Fla., the launch site.

Both Aldrin and Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 command module pilot who orbited the moon, will be there. I have long wanted to visit Cape Canaveral on the Space Coast -- it's on my "bucket list" -- but it may take a little longer than I thought.

I do feel a special connection with Armstrong as my paternal grandfather's family lived in Wapakoneta. I also have had the honor of meeting both Armstrong and Glenn. All I could say was "thank you for your service" to both of them.(Ah, the perks of being a reporter)

For the record, for those of you who weren't alive, at 9:32 a.m. on July 16, with the world watching, Apollo 11 took off from the then-named Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins aboard. Armstrong, a 38-year-old civilian research pilot, was the commander of the mission. After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19.

The next day, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the command module, where Collins remained. Two hours later, the Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface, and at 4:18 p.m. the craft touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility.

Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, a famous message: "The Eagle has landed."

To this day, the phrase "The Eagle has landed" sends more shivers up my spine than even Armstrong's words as he stepped onto the moon.

How about you?

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Follow Kim Wendel on Twitter @KimWendel


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