Moon Memories from Northeast Mississippians

Anne Thompson, communications director, Corinth Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
“It was the summer between my first and second year teaching science in Vicksburg, and we had been studying about it. I was at home in Corinth with my parents at the time, and I remember it was late night and there was a little time delay. I wrote down Neil Armstrong’s first words to put on the bulletin board for my children: ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ When it came out in the paper the next day I was upset because they put ‘One small step for man and one giant leap for mankind.’ What I learned later was that he had written the word ‘and’ in what he planned to say, but didn’t say it. I remember thinking that it was absolutely a miraculous thing.”
Corinth Mayor Jerry Latch, 61
“As a 21-year-old working at Joe’s Shoe Store, where I worked from the time I was 18, I remember sitting around a black-and-white TV to watch it. A lot of people couldn’t believe it was happening. People coming in the store would say it could be fake, they could have been out in the desert somewhere. You have to remember, we didn’t have as many avenues of communication in those days like the Internet or cable and satellite TV like we have now.”
Tupelo Police Chief Harold Chaffin, 58
“I remember it like it just happened. I was 18 years old and sitting and watching it with my dad in our living room in Baldwyn. It was an amazing thing to see. It was a feeling I can’t explain to see men walking on the moon.”
Tupelo resident Bob Chestnut, 63
“I was at a fire base at Hawk Hill in Tam Ky Vietnam. I got a call over the radio saying they had landed on the moon. I remember it because that call was as clear as day. I called my platoon on the radio to tell then it had happened, but they barely could hear me. I remember telling them that we could hear a transmission all the way from the moon clearly and they couldn’t even hear me telling them over the radio from 300 yards away.”
Tupelo resident Melanie Philpot, 51
“We watched it on a black-and-white TV. It was exciting. It was something so far-reached. We had relatives over, and we all watched it. My brother, still to this day, doesn’t believe it happened.”
Saltillo resident Dee Saunders, 75
“I was working (at Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center in Denver, Colo.), so I didn’t get to actually see it, but I saw it on TV later. I was just thankful they landed OK. I thought it was a fantastic feat at the time. I was very proud of the ones who went up and did the walk.”
Jeff Alford, 61, Oxford, retired university administrator
“I was living in West Palm Beach, Fla., and I remember clearly sitting on the patio on a summer evening in front of a black-and-white TV with my in-laws and just being almost disbelieving what we were watching. On the screen in front of us, an American, a man, was standing on the moon that we could see above us from the patio.
After that, there was a real sense of national pride, because the Russians had been the first ones to put up a satellite, and it was kind of embarrassing for the country. We remembered John Kennedy’s saying we’re going to do this, and there was a lot of pride in doing this, and we did it.”

John O’Haver, 53, Abbeville, professor and administrator
“I was 13 years old. I stayed up late to watch it. I was fascinated. My dad and mom let me stay up late to watch it. I remember watching all the splashdowns of all the Mercury and Gemini missions.
Everybody I knew wanted to be an astronaut.”

Don Primos, 54, Jackson, restaurateur
“My dad took a photo of our TV with the picture on the screen of the astronauts on the moon, and we kept that picture. That’s what I remember most about it.
I was 13 or 14 years old and had lots of other things on my mind, so it didn’t fascinate me so much.”

NEMS Daily Journal