The 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong’s pioneering Moon walk was recognized in Edmonds Saturday morning July 20 with a ceremony at Neil Armstrong Plaza, located at the north end of the Edmonds Police Station.
Feliks Banel, noted Northwest historian and KIRO-FM radio personality, emceed the event, with local speakers that included Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling and historian Larry Vogel. Former Edmonds High School student Dennis Clark, who launched the idea for the Neil Armstrong memorial, also attended, as did former Edmonds School District principal Dale Hoggins, who coached Clark in Little League.
Neil Armstrong Plaza includes a monument commemorating Armstrong’s moon walk, an idea proposed by Clark as part of the U.S. Bicentennial Celebration. Designed by local sculptor Howard Duell, it resembled a space capsule. Armstrong’s Moon walk, along with an American flag planted in the lunar surface, graces the monument’s face. On the back side is the Saturn V rocket perched on its launch pad, with the moon rising behind. Made of concrete and brass, it stands more than 11 feet high and weighs approximately 3,800 pounds. (Read more about the Edmonds monument’s history here.
In his remarks Saturday morning, Vogel called himself “a child of the Space Age,” noting he was a 10-year-old 5th grader “when the Soviet Union beat us into space with the 1957 launch of Sputnik.”
“Space, rockets and going to the planets and beyond was on everyone’s mind, and every kid imagined being an astronaut – I was totally caught up in the space race,” Vogel added.
He recalled being home on Long Island in summer 1969, preparing for his senior year in college, when Armstrong and two other astronauts hurtled into space on their way to the moon.
“I was still holding my breath three days later when the Eagle lunar lander set down on the Moon’s surface and Armstrong intoned – “The Eagle has Landed,” Vogel recalled. “Then Armstrong left the lander, and took that historic “small step for a man” onto the moon’s surface.
“I ran out the next morning as soon as the newspapers hit the stands and picked up a copy of the New York Times – I knew it would be historic. For the first time, the staid Times ran a headline in the largest type they had ever used – Men Walk on Moon. I’ve kept it safely at the bottom of my sock drawer ever since!”
— Photos by Julia Wiese