Nation celebrates 50th anniversary of 1st lunar footsteps

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This March 30, 1969 photo made available by NASA shows the crew of the Apollo 11, from left, Neil Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, module pilot; Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, lunar module pilot. Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to the surface of the moon. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Celebrations are in full swing across the country for the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first footsteps on another world.

Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong was the first one out, proclaiming: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, cars were backed up for miles Saturday morning outside the visitor complex. In Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, runners competed in “Run to the Moon” races.

The White House reiterated its goal to send astronauts back to the moon and “take the next giant leap — sending Americans to Mars.” Vice President Mike Pence headed to Kennedy to tour the Apollo 11 launchpad and give a speech.

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