Remembering history with last man to walk on the moon
(7/20/07 - KTRK/HOUSTON) -- Where were you 38 years ago? We're pretty sure you were sitting in front of your television set -- watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Now get the perspective from 1969 from the last man to walk on the moon, Gene Cernan.
Armstrong said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
We heard those words 38 years ago -- when Armstrong became the first man to step foot on the moon. Many of you probably watched it happen live at 9:17 Houston time when Armstrong walked off of the "Eagle." He was joined shortly thereafter by Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.
"Beautiful, just beautiful," Aldrin said.
The two astronauts spent 21 hours on the moon, planting an American flag on the surface before leaving. While Armstrong and Aldrin were the first on the moon, Eugene Cernan was the last to step foot on the moon back in December of 1972. [story continues below]
"I never expected to walk on the moon when I was a kid," he said. "I just wanted to fly airplanes off of aircraft carriers and look at where it led me." Cernan says man will certainly walk on the moon again.
"The fact is we are going to go back," Cernan insisted. "I'm not going to be the last person to have left his footprints there forever. We will go back."
It's the same message Cernan had when Eyewitness News talked to him on the 15th anniversary of the Apollo 17 landing back in 1987.
"We'll be there," he said. "We'll get there. I think Apollo was the beginning and another generation will see that to be so."
Until then, the last man to walk on the moon says he thinks people should dream about doing things which aren't possible and make it happen -- just like walking on the moon.
"It's truly an awe-inspiring experience," Cernan said. "I just wish I had an opportunity to take every human being in the world and stand him alongside me for just five minutes. I truly think the world would be different today."
As for all of those who made Apollo 17 happen... "If I live to be a million, I'll never forget this group of people," promised Cernan.
(Copyright © 2007, KTRK-TV)
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