July 20

Neil Armstrong stepped down onto the surface of the moon in 1969. The Apollo 11 mission had dropped the Lunar Module Eagle onto the moon at 20:17 UTC, At 2:56 UTC on July 21, Neil Armstrong set his left foot onto the surface as approximately 600 million watched on television. Armstrong then uttered his famous, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” The “a” was not clear, most likely obscured by static. Apollo 11 brought back 21.5 kilograms of lunar soil and they left behind an American flag and scientific instruments. The crew returned to Earth on July 24 and was recovered by the USS Hornet.

The ruling junta in the nation of Burma arrested Aung San Suu Kyi in 1989. She remained under house arrest for about 15 of the 20 years until her most recent release on November 13, 2010. The Burmese government claimed that she was likely to undermine the community peace and stability. She had been one of the world’s most famous political prisoners. Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 as she worked to promote democracy in Burma (now Myanmar). In 2012, she was elected to the lower house of the nation’s parliament. She has also announced that she would run for the presidency of Myanmar in 2015.

In 1997, the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) set sail for the first time in over 100 years to commemorate her 200th anniversary. The ship was towed from her berth to a mooring in Marblehead, Massachusetts. En route, the Constitution sailed on her own reaching a speed of 6 knots. On board were U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, US Senator John Kerry, and Walter Cronkite. Launched in 1997, the USS Constitution was one of the six original frigates authorized by the Naval Act of 1794. The ship became famous during the War of 1812 as she defeated five British warships. When she took on the HMS Guerriere many of the cannon shots from the British ship bounced off the hull of the Constitution and one American sailor exclaimed, “Huzzah, her sides are made of iron!” The Constitution was retired from active service in 1881 and became a museum ship in 1907. Her mission today is to promote understanding of the Navy’s role in war and in peace.

Birthdays Today

1919Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer (d. 2008)
1933Cormac McCarthy, American author
1938Diana Rigg, English actress and singer
1938Natalie Wood, American actress and singer (d. 1981)
1945Kim Carnes, American singer-songwriter
1953Thomas Friedman, American journalist
1958Billy Mays, American salesman (d. 2009)

Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.