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Share Your Story • CoCo Podawiltz • August 25, 2012

Fly Me To The Moon...

July 1969 was a very memorable time of my early childhood. I was 10yrs old, a young girl living in Florida, where my Dad was stationed in the USAF for a brief time. My family was preparing for his departure to Vietnam, for his one year tour of duty... scary times for us!

Living in Florida and being in the military, we were well aware of the Apollo program & its goal to land humans on the Moon. I was fascinated by their efforts & followed the few earlier Apollo missions into space. On the eve of the Apollo 11 mission, our house was in chaos over moving off-base & my Dad's packing, but I was glued to our B&W TV to catch every minute broadcast of that crucial 1st mission to finally land on the Moon!

Maybe this was an escape for me from what was happening at home, but I can still vividly remember sitting through the 'Eagle landing', waiting on the astronauts to exit, then watching that first historical step on the Moon by Neil Armstrong. I was watching alone mostly, but right after that historic moment, I jumped up, so excited, to fetch my parents & sisters, so they could see it as well. I was in AWE through the entire adventure- so amazed to think that Neil & Buzz were actually ON the Moon, & that we were really watching them wandering around up there. I felt such great pride in the accomplishment! I then watched it all straight through until their splashdown back on Earth!

That very momentous event sealed my love for space & inspired my dreams to pursue that love throughout my life! I dreamed of joining NASA & being an astronaut, so I became an engineer, an amateur astronomer, even joined the Air Force, then later got my Masters in Astronomy. Though I finally got my opportunity to apply to NASA's astronaut program, I regretably was not selected. I didn't let that damper my love of all things Space though, & for that lifelong love, I have that special moment with Neil Armstrong to thank! He flew me to the Moon, to dance among the Stars... Someday I'll join him there again too, I am sure!

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