The moon landing in July 1969 was a singular moment in American history. During a very tumultuous decade, rife with unrest and tragedy, the moon landing stands as one of the few positive moments in the late 60s and shined a spotlight on American ingenuity and the promise of a bright future.

On July 20th, 2019 America will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. And our nation’s 65 million baby boomers—many who came of age in the late 60s and early 70s – will take a moment to reflect on where they were and what they were doing when Neil Armstrong took “one giant step for mankind.”

A Road Scholar Ambassador Shares Her Memories of the July 1969 Moon Landing

Road Scholar participant and all-around trailblazer Paula Wright’s life is full of firsts. She was the only female mechanical engineering student in her class at the University of Hartford in the 70s, and the first female member and female Chairperson on the Aerospace Engineering Committee of the Aerospace Industries Association.

She recently reflected on where she was when America put a man on the moon and how thrilled she was years later to meet Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders when she was one of the few female engineers at General Electric in the 70s.

“Captain Video and Flash Gordon were staples in my house, as were my space helmet, decoder ring, and ever more intricate cardboard box spaceships,” Paula said. “So, when the moon landing was to take place, my eyes were glued to the TV set in the living room of my very first house as a new mother. As Neil Armstrong and then Buzz Aldrin took those first steps, I let out an eardrum breaking howl, as tears ran down my cheeks. I couldn’t have been prouder as an American.”

A Meeting with Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders

It was shortly after that defining moment that Paula went back to college and earned her engineering degree. She built a successful career in the aerospace industry; and while she didn’t work on rockets, she did get to visit many factories which did build those rockets, capsules and space stations. And eventually, met Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders.

We both worked at GE and I got the opportunity to sit next to him at a corporate dinner,” Paula said. “I still remember, 50 years later, the look in his eyes when he talked about being in space. He said it was the most life-changing experience a person could possibly have.”

Now retired living in Newbury, Massachusetts, Paula is currently a Road Scholar Ambassador, a member of the Red Hat Society and Rotary International member. On July 20th, she will join millions of Americans, from youngsters to millennials, baby boomers and beyond, who will gather around the television and look towards the sky to recognize an incredible American achievement.

Road Scholar Offers Aviation Learning Adventures for Grandparents and Grandchildren

As grandparents love to share their joy of learning with their grandchildren, Road Scholar offers grandparent programs in Aviation and space exploration, including Aviation Adventures and Space Exploration With Your Grandchild, and Spaceships and Surfboards: Cocoa Beach With Your Grandchild

Where were you when America put an astronaut on the moon? What impact did this event have on your life? Let’s have a chat!

About Road Scholar

This article was sponsored by Road Scholar. Road Scholar is the nation’s largest not-for-profit educational travel organization for adults – a true university of the world. It offers 5,500 programs in 150 countries and 50 states, as well as financial aid for those who otherwise could not participate in its programs. Road Scholar educational adventures are created by Elderhostel, the world leader in educational travel since 1975. Learn more at press.roadscholar.org.

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