"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Commander Neil Armstrong made that profound observation as he and lunar-module pilot Buzz Aldrin made history as the first two men to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. Now, 50 years later, the world prepares to celebrate — on Saturday — the golden anniversary of one of mankind's most incredible achievements.
Right here in the Bay State, Worcester Public Library is honoring the event by playing the original CBS news broadcast on its digital displays throughout the first floor of the Main Library on Saturday. The footage will play from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Worcester Public Library is at 3 Salem Square. Parking is available at the city's McGrath parking lot behind the library.
"I think it will be nice to relive this amazing event in the history of our country and the world," says Pingsheng Chen, public-services coordinator at Worcester Public Library. "All are welcome to come view it. It will be a new experience for many young people who have heard about this in their history books but didn't experience it firsthand. It will also be fun for the older generation to relive this extraordinary moment from the past."
Patrons can watch (or rewatch) the footage with nostalgia, amazement and wonder as iconic news anchor Walter Cronkite enthusiastically commemorates the historic moments. Cronkite is best-remembered for being as giddy as the folks watching at home: With a broad grin, Cronkite rubbed his hands together and exclaimed, "Whew ... boy!"
Almost everybody who was alive at the time can vividly recall where they were when Armstrong uttered those chilling words upon stepping out of the module and onto the surface of the moon.
"I was in China, and we heard it on the news," Chen says. "It was an amazing accomplishment not only for the United States, but the entire world."
To keep the celebration going, Worcester Public Library's Roosevelt Branch will host a Moon Landing 50th Anniversary Party that day from 4 to 5 p.m. Families are highly encouraged to attend, as there will be another viewing opportunity, moon pies and even outer-space-themed bingo. The Roosevelt branch of the library is at 1006 Grafton St., Worcester, about a 15-minute drive from the main branch.
"Reliving the excitement can also help give us hope for the future," Chen says."If we put our hearts to it, anything can be achieved."
The viewing party is just one of the many events that are of Worcester Public Library's "Universe of Stories" Summer Reading Program. Other upcoming programs include an Outer Space Research lecture Tuesday, July 23, and "Mars: Revealing the Secrets of the Red Planet" by the Aldrich Astronomical Society on Saturday, Aug. 3.