Thousands of people gathered Saturday at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission that landed the first men on the moon on July 20, 1969.
The museum, which has on display one of the few remaining Lunar Modules on Earth, lowered a one-third replica model of the spacecraft from the ceiling to a replica moon base at the exact time that the real moon landing happened 50 years ago. Video footage of the event played on the screen behind the model for the occasion. Cheers erupted from the crowd as the model touched down.
“We’re not just shining a light on the Apollo program,” Andrew Parton, the museum’s president, told the crowd gathered in the museum’s atrium. “We’re shining a light on Long Island and all the Grumman employees that put us on the moon.”
Tens of thousands of Bethpage-based Grumman workers were involved in building the Lunar Module, making the anniversary a strong source of local pride.
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In addition to the mock moon landing, the museum also had model rocket launches, toy lunar buggy rides, astronaut lectures, and a bevy of space-related crafts for children.
The museum event was one of many across Long Island this weekend marking the anniversary.