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Armstrong hosted a splashdown party on July 24, when their son and his crewmates, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, returned to Earth. Stephen Armstrong even passed out cigars with wrappers reading, “It’s a boy and he landed safely.” Weeks later, 80,000 people descended on the town of 5,000 for Wapakoneta’s homecoming parade. Although it lacked the ticker tape featured in other Apollo 11 parades in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Wapakoneta’s grand marshal was comedian Bob Hope, and the folks crowding Auglaize Street were close enough to the convertible carrying Armstrong that they could reach out and shake his hand. High above the bunting and flags, a giant photo of Armstrong was emblazoned with the caption “OUR HERO.” With 2019 marking the 50th anniversary of Armstrong’s “small step,” Wapakoneta will host a 10-day-long celebration July 12–21. Coinciding with the community’s annual Summer Moon Festival, the “First on the Moon” activities will commence with hot air balloons and culminate with a Wink at the Moon Concert (after Armstrong’s 2012 death, his family requested that people “think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink” when looking at the moon). The 50th anniversary parade on July 14 will duplicate the 1969 parade route, saluting the out-of-thisworld feat that President Kennedy said would be “the measure of the best of our energies and skills.”

PHOTOS COURTESY OF NASA

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July 20 marks the 50th anniversary of Wapakoneta native Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for a man.”

JULY 2019  •  OHIO COOPERATIVE LIVING   31

Profile for Ohio Cooperative Living

Ohio Cooperative Living - July 2019 - Mid Ohio  

Ohio Cooperative Living - July 2019 - Mid Ohio