Tomorrow, Saturday, July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of one of mankind's biggest achievements - landing on the moon.
Even a half century later, the otherworldly feat seems so unfathomable, it's almost beyond the realm of imagination. Indeed, a survey taken by the Knight newspaper company a year after the moon landing found that 30 percent of Americans believed it was faked. The percentage has since dwindled but even today, depending on the source, anywhere from 6 to 20 percent of Americans don't believe it happened.
In recognition of the moon landing milestone, we thought it would be insightful to go through the pages of the newspaper - then called the Park Region Echo - and see how it covered the moon landing. We came across the following editorial from July 24, 1969, entitled, "Now we know what fantastic is." It offers a glimpse into the wonder and optimism that special day brought 50 years ago:
"Now we all know what fantastic really is. From now on, anything less than that fantastic trip to and walk on the moon will have to be referred to as something else, something less than fantastic.
"The ease with which Neil Armstrong and Aldrin cavorted and worked on the moon surface amazed even the most learned scientists and they, along with the rest of us, must have gaped in awe as they watched the greatest event of our time.
"For posterity man left for space travelers and watchers another of his legacies, litter, which by contrast was startling and dramatic as viewed on the surface of the moon. But in this case only, we can forgive all that as we wish our space travelers home and to a safe splashdown today.
"As we ponder the magnificence and import of this great feat, we can't help but speculate on what new horizons come into view because of the moon walk.
"Venus is just 43 days away from Earth when the traveler moves at 25,000 miles per hour; Mars, 58 days; Jupiter, 1.68 years. If we would like to go for a really long trip, Neptune, which is 2.78 billion miles from Earth would require 12.24 years of travel time. Impossible? It seems nothing is impossible now, given the time, space and knowledge. Meanwhile, until the space people and the courageous astronauts astound us again, we will remain moonstruck. It was fantastic!"
For many, the events of July 16-24, 1969 are seared into their memories as they watched TV coverage of the launch, the landing and the splashdown with amazed wonder. See today's front page story for more.
Not everyone, however, was enthralled with the "giant leap for mankind." Elsewhere on the editorial pages from that same issue was a brief item from Park Region Echo columnist, Donald Kelly, titled, "Complaint." "A housewife is incensed because the television network pre-empted the soap opera, 'As the World Turns,' to give live coverage to our latest moon shot."