Assuming that you were around and cognizant on this day in 1969, you know exactly what you were doing. Watching Walter Cronkite giving updates on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
I was 13 and my father was painting my bedroom (a dazzling shade of green which I loved and my parents hated, painting over it with a tasteful Federal blue once I moved out of the house). I ran back and forth between the television in the family room to my bedroom with the latest news on the Apollo astronauts. Looking back, I'm not sure if there was much to say. "They're getting closer." "They think the landing will be in two hours." "They've postponed it until this evening."
As it turned out, it was past midnight when the lunar module landed. We went up to my grandparents' house to watch it on their color television, not realizing that the broadcast would be in black and white. Still, it seems fitting that I was watching this historical moment with three generations of my family, including my grandparents who were both born before the Wright Brothers flew the first airplane at Kitty Hawk.
My younger sister saw it too, but she was at 4-H camp and watched on a counselor's tiny black and white portable set, along with everyone else at camp. Four years later, history would again be made while she was at camp, and she would watch a president's resignation speech on another counselor's tiny black and white portable set.
These days, if something historic happens at camp, I expect the kids will just whip out their Blackberries which they'd clevelry smuggled in.
Anyway, it was an experience I shared with the world. Everyone over 50 knows what they were doing when Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon. Everyone went out that night, looked at the moon and marvelled at the fact that people had actually been there, walked on it and left a flag and their footprints in the dust.
And then we all began sentences with "If we can put a man on the moon., why can't we....."
Why can't we indeed?