July 20, 1969
Because I was 18 years old when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon.
It was the end of a long day, and an odd week already. My parents had, long before, made plans to be on vacation that week, camping out West with my dad's sister and her husband. They were in Las Vegas when the Moon Landing happened.
My two youngest sisters were staying with my oldest sister, who by then was married with twin sons (now 40 themselves, and one of them the dad of two little boys). My next-youngest sister and I were staying with my Aunt Ruth, and that day we had gone to New Castle, PA (about 50 miles northwest of Pittsburgh; it's close to Youngstown, Ohio) to my cousin Beryl's wedding. And after the reception we came home to Aunt Ruth's apartment and sat in her living room and watched the astronauts, well into the night, an indistinct gray picture on a black-and-white screen that I don't think was more than 20 inches or so. We watched them actually land on the Moon's surface, get out and walk around -- or bounce around, in the low lunar gravity -- 250,000 miles away on the surface of another world than Earth. One that we had seen many times, but would never see quite the same way again.
Many times since then I have looked at the Moon and tried to figure out where Tranquility Base had been, or the other landing sites that came later, and try to somehow picture them in my mind, remembering that yes, people have been there. They left stuff behind that's still there.
I would like to hope that it won't be 40 years before people get back to the Moon; I'd certainly like to hope that it would be in my lifetime. I'm not sure it's a realistic hope at this stage, though.