100 years ago: 1919

A midsummer meet is to be held at the Maine State fairgrounds, Lewiston, next Saturday afternoon; and although the promoters don’t claim that the purses are large, there promises to be some mighty good sport.

50 years ago: 1969

Two American men landed and walked on the moon Sunday, the first human beings on its alien soil. They planted their nation’s flag and talked to their President on earth by radio-telephone. Millions on their home planet 240,000 miles away watched on television as they saluted the flag, and scouted the lunar surface. The first to step on the moon was Neil Armstrong, 38, of Wapakoneta, Ohio. He stepped into the dusty surface at 10:56 p.m. EDT. His first words were, “This is a small step for man, a giant leap for mankind.” Twenty minutes later, his companion, Edwin E. ‘Buzz” Aldrin Jr., 39, of Montclair, N.J. stepped to the surface. His words were, “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. A magnificent desolation.” They had landed on the moon nearly six hours before, at 4:19 p.m. President Nixon’s voice came to the ears of the astronauts on the moon from the Oval Room at the White House. “This has to be the most historic telephone call ever made,” he said. “I just can’t tell you how proud I am. Because of what you have done the heavens have become part of man’s world. As you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquillity, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to man. All the people on earth are surely one in their pride of what you have done and one in their prayers that you will return safely.” Aldrin replied, ‘Thank you, Mr. President. It is a privilege to represent the people of all peaceable nations.” Armstrong added his thanks.

25 years ago: 1994

The 25 years since he put the first human footprint on the moon have not been unkind to Nell Armstrong. Grayer, heavier, but still the poet who gave the world: one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. On Wednesday, the silver anniversary of the first landing on the moon, Armstrong stood with his two Apollo 11 comrades in the White House before 18 other Apollo astronauts and President Clinton. He addressed his remarks not to them, but to a group of grade school scientists. “To you, we say we have only completed a beginning,” Armstrong said. We have left you much that is undone. There are great ideas undiscovered, break-through available. There are places to go beyond belief, those challenges are yours — in many fields, not the least of it space because there lies human destiny.”

The material used in Looking Back is reproduced exactly as it originally appeared, although misspellings and errors may be corrected.

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