DALLAS — The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing will be celebrated Saturday at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Dallas Love Field with the biggest annual space exposition in Texas.
Meanwhile a former boatswains mate who watched the capsule splash down in the Pacific Ocean will reminisce while thumbing through perhaps the biggest scrapbook most anyone has ever seen.
The Frontiers of Flight event, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday is celebrated as Moon Day 2019.
The science, technology, engineering and math focused space-themed event will include the first screening of the new documentary "The Day We Walked on the Moon," presented along with 50 Smithsonian Institution-affiliated museums across the country.
The museum has also been home for several years now to the Apollo 7 command module from the first manned Apollo flight that made the eventual moon landing mission possible.
"And we love to show it to kids and think, 'Kevin how about you, what would you think about being in that for 11 days?'" said Cheryl Sutterfield-Jones, President and CEO of the Frontiers of Flight Museum. "And to really inspire that thought and to hear kids think 'I could do that.'"
In Arlington, the 50-year-old memories of John Cornell are kept in a massive scrapbook his late mom compiled during his three years in the Navy.
"You know I still remember it just like it was today," he said. "It was just so crazy."
Cornell was a boatswain's mate stationed in Hawaii who was assigned to the USS Hornet when Apollo 11 returned to earth.
He helped guide President Nixon's helicopter on board so that he could personally welcome the returning astronauts.
And then, although the Navy told the crew that personal cameras were not allowed, pulled a small camera out of his pocket and snapped a photo of the command module, its parachutes deployed, seconds before splashdown.
His scrapbook also records his similar involvement in the recoveries of Apollo 10 and 12.
"I thought it was awesome. I didn't really think too much about it. But as I kept seeing on television, I thought I need to dig out that scrapbook and look at it a little closer."
"Well I didn't realize it was that big a deal at the time," he said.
But, with his memories preserved in the scrapbook his mom left for him, he does now.
To help celebrate what was, and continues to be a really big deal, visitors to the Moon Day 2019 event at the Frontiers of Flight Museum will enjoy a full day of activities.
The event features space-related displays from over three dozen exhibitors and the first 250 kids through the door will receive a "Lunar Sample Bag" full of space-related posters, magazines, trading cards and other items.
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- 'In Event of Moon Disaster': Nixon’s speech if Apollo 11 astronauts did not return
- After Apollo 11, Fort Worth's other big story in July 1969 was the Lake Worth Monster
- National Air and Space Museum projects 363-foot rocket on Washington Monument in honor of Apollo 11 anniversary