#RebootTheSuit: Your Apollo 11 Stories

Posted on Mon, August 10, 2015

With just nine days left on the Museum’s Kickstarter campaign, #RebootTheSuit, we’ve been moved by the sheer number of people who have generously backed our mission to conserve, digitize, and display Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit. And now, you’re helping us go above and beyond to reach our stretch goal of doing the same for Alan Shepard’s Mercury spacesuit—both suits, along with many other artifacts, are slated for the future exhibition Destination Moon. Perhaps one of the most rewarding aspects of this project—the things that have made all of us a little teary-eyed at times—has been seeing your comments, hearing your stories, and discovering through your words just how deeply the Apollo 11 story resonates. So instead of “talking” to you any longer, we wanted to share some of the comments we’ve received from the more than 8,000 backers of Reboot the Suit, so you can get a little teary-eyed with us.

Shannon D.
One of my earliest memories is of watching the Moon landing on TV with my dad. I was barely four years old, so the whole thing really kind of went over my head. I do remember being upset that "Mr. Dressup" had been pre-empted. Also, I was fascinated by the fact that my dad was practically climbing into the TV, he was so excited! (He was a science teacher—genes that skipped me, sadly!) I learned that day, if people could walk on the Moon, anything was possible.

Celebrating the Moon Landing

Photo from Shannon D. (right with paper-bag puppet) with her dad, brother, and sister celebrating the Moon landing. Not shown is her mother who is behind the camera.

Joyce D.
I clearly and vividly remember the Apollo 11 mission and the rest of the space program beginning with Mercury thanks to my mother's keen interest in all things NASA. She would have been all over this. On what turned out to be her last birthday in August 2009, I sent her a 40th anniversary Moon landing coffee mug from the Kennedy Space Center. She was so thrilled. I made my donation to honor my mother's memory. Thanks, Mom. Scott W. My memory of the event is probably no different than most. I remember it was kind of special to me because it was on and around my birthday. I remember that I bugged my parents for weeks before and after to buy gas at certain stations because they were giving away space-related toys and books, one book I still have. Times were pretty rough those years for us so these items were like gold to me. The one I loved the most was a cardboard cutout of the lunar module. I remember my mom and dad waking me up to watch the landing and Moon walk. Like a goofy kid, I had to have all my cool space stuff next to me while we watched. I remember most my dad's eyes starting to well up when they walked on the Moon. It was a huge sense of pride for all of us. Those cheap and dinky toys were my prized possessions for a long time after.

Rebecca O.
I watched the first Moon landing as a kid, and I still tear up when I see it replayed. An incredible moment for humankind. I went out in the backyard and looked up at the Moon, as I'm sure many of us did, knowing that for the first time one of us was actually there. Glad to help out in a small way to preserve this suit.

Norman W.
My dad worked at ILC (International Latex Corp) outside Dover, Delaware. He worked as a metallurgist on designing the "lock-Lock" rings that double sealed the gloves and helmet to the suit. Until he passed away, he spoke of his work on this project with great reverence. He had lots of funny anecdotes about the design process, and somehow a large bolt of the outer white protective cloth found its way to our living room. My mom sewed it into a chair pad for her organ bench. (I’m guessing the statute of limitations has passed for "theft" of federal property by now ... He swore it was scrap.) Hope this project gets funded. I would love to take the kids to see what "Grandpop" worked on.

S. Brian F. I remember July 20, 1969, as if it was yesterday. After the landing I went outside and just looked up at the Moon in wonder. I am so proud to back this important project.

Mary B.
I turned 11 years old the day Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon. I was (and still am) an avid fan of the space program ... and I was pretty certain that NASA arranged the Apollo 11 Moon landing to coincide with my birthday! I can't think of a more fitting way to celebrate my birthday today than to help "Reboot the Suit" for generations to come.

Jake S.
Some people look at the stars and see just stars. Other people look at the stars and see an adventure, a journey. Growing up my father brought me to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum a few times. My father was a huge aircraft and space buff. Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s as a young boy he would often skip school to see the Mercury and Gemini launches. His mother (my grandmother) didn’t see the correlation between my father’s pseudo-compromised immune system and NASA’s launch calendar for quite some time. After she had realized the correlation it was too late, my father was already infatuated with space. In turn, growing up I gained a true appreciation and admiration for aircraft and space just like my father. I remember vividly going to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum as a young boy with just my father… We walked the Museum together, running from one exhibit to the next in excitement and reading and discussing what we saw. My father would often quiz me to see what I knew. To his surprise, I was able to tell him a lot of information. We walked around that day for hours captivated by humankind’s accomplishments. This is one of my favorite memories I had with my father. He passed away almost eight years ago. I don’t know if this message will be read or even responded to, but I wanted to share it. I wish I could give more money. I will be counting the days down to when this new exhibit opens. Thanks for all your help and keep up the good work. Lasting memories are not only preserved in your Museum they are created.

Heather J.
Growing up in a small village in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales (UK), the moonshot was a thrilling part of my childhood, and I was (and still am) in awe of the Apollo 11 team. My fascination with space exploration continues to this day, and I am genuinely excited to be a part of this wonderful project. You never know, I may even get to see this iconic suit in the real world someday. Here's to the explorers and visionaries of this world.

Rita H.
The day of the Moon landing, I called my sister … while they were starting to come down to the Moon's surface. It was the only time I ever heard a telephone operator break character. As she put the call through, she said, "Are they down yet?" I said, "On their way," and was then connected. Even though my sister was in a different state, we were watching the same thing on TV and we saw the Moon landing "together." This is just one example of how everyone in the country was either watching, listening, or aware of the landing. It was a great day.

Michelle G.
What an opportunity to contribute to a project that will preserve one of the most important artifacts in human history and help create a display that is sure to inspire others for generations to come. Thank you Smithsonian for making this a Kickstarter campaign and allowing us to contribute to something so monumental! I'm so honored to be able to be a part of this.

Sarah B.
I've always been fascinated by space and did many school projects about the space program. So supporting this project was a no brainer! Someday I hope to go to the Smithsonian and see the suit that I helped restore!

Paul R.
I'm unemployed right now, but I feel it's important to support the restoration of this international, cultural, and technological artifact. It may not be much in the grand scheme of things, but I'm proud to be able to help.

Thank you for supporting our project. Thank you for sharing your stories—please keep sharing. And join us in the final countdown to #RebootTheSuit.