45 Years Later: Locals share memories of Apollo 11

45 Years Later: Locals share memories of Apollo 11

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. - On this day, 45 years ago, three astronauts left their footprints on history by becoming the first humans to land on the moon.

Nationwide, people sat in front of their television screens, ready to watch history. Chickie Renfro, from the Jonesborough Senior Center, was 35 years old, heading to Canada with her 6 and 10-year-old sons. "We were on vacation, we had a truck with a little camper on it, the two boys were in the back, and we took our television with us," she says.

A little portable ten-inch TV that showed the events in black and white. "That afternoon, when we knew that the event was supposed to occur, we stopped in a motel, got our little television out, and watched them landing on the moon," she says.

She called it an exciting day for her family and for the nation - when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon as Michael Collins orbited above.

Beverly Smith, also from the Jonesborough Senior Center, was in Florida, 17 years old at the time. She saw it live, as smoke billowed from liftoff in Cape Canaveral, Florida about 100 miles away.  "We could see it from Cape Canaveral, just the tail of the rocket as it went off, all the smoke and steam and everything, and everybody in our class got to watch that," she says.

Smith remembers her teacher telling students that they could one day walk on the moon. "When I see it in the sky, I think about it and think, you know, one day more than just one or two men are going to walk on the moon," she says.

Because that moment in history showed it was possible to reach for the stars. As it was said 45 years ago, "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

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