One Small Question — Where Were You?

June 20, 1969

June 20, 1969

To those of you who were around on June 20, 1969, here’s the question: where were you when Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface at almost 11 o’clock (EDT) that night? Monday marks the 40th anniversary of that event, and the “where were you question” is an obvious one. We have one answer already. Marc James Small, a member of the Class of 1972 from Chester, Va., was spending the summer of ’69 in Lexington. He wrote to the Alumni Magazine recently with his moon landing story. It seems that Marc’s TV set went dead on the morning of the 20th, which was going to mean he’d miss out on the live telecast of the big event. He happened to mention that to a lab assistant — fellow named Ted DeLaney, now head of the history department at W&L. As Marc wrote: “He and I have generally disagreed on a lot of issues but, in the end, Prof. DeLaney is a true W&L gentleman, and I do appreciate his kindness that night in a magic summer.” Any other memories out there of the moon landing? For instance, was anybody else watching in a tent while serving as a counselor for an Ohio Boy Scout camp? And for those of you with no memory of the event, here’s the link to the restored NASA video on YouTube.

6 Responses to “One Small Question — Where Were You?”


  1. 1 Hal Higginbotham July 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Someplace, long since forgotten, not too far from Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, PA. A graduate student at Brown, I had ended up in ROTC as a means of continuing my studies even though I had a low draft number…

    “ROTC summer camp”

    It was the first weekend we had been allowed off-base. In my VW bug, I had driven around Lebanon County rather aimlessly all day, just wanting to be someplace else.

    Found a cheap motel at some point, probably between Reading and Lancaster. Drank some beer and watched the landing on a small B&W tv with a truly crummy picture.

    Barbra, my future wife, was with friends in someone’s dorm room at Columbia, and we talked by phone at some point that night.

    It was an odd evening, almost as though some basic parameters of the universe had been touched.

  2. 2 Scott Dittman July 17, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I was at the National Boy Scout Jamboree, in a meadow in Farragut State Park near Couer d’Alene, ID, watching on a battery powered B&W TV some Georgia scouts in the next site had. Talk about fuzzy reception!

  3. 3 Julie Campbell July 17, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I was 12 years old and watched it with my family, at our home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. TV coverage of all the space voyages of the ’60s was a backdrop of my childhood, but this was the big one.

    • 4 Rick Corrigan July 17, 2009 at 12:24 pm

      I was 11 and my parents woke me up to watch on TV. For our age group the NASA and its missions were an exciting, some times tragic, part of our lives.

      • 5 Jim Lynn '78 July 18, 2009 at 6:39 pm

        I was a 13-year-old camper at Hyde Bay Camp in Cooperstown, New York. All the campers were allowed to stay up late. We crowded into a barn-like structure that was the camp theater where we watched he landing on a TV set on the stage. Rabbit ears and a very blurry image. We were served Tang and small peanut butter sticks in tin foil wrappers—astronaut food.


  1. 1 Wolfe on the Moon Landing « Washington and Lee University News Trackback on July 20, 2009 at 9:26 am
Comments are currently closed.




%d bloggers like this: