In recent weeks there has been a flood of articles, television programs, magazine features and much, much more about the upcoming U.S. landing on the moon.

We have long been fascinated by the space program, probably because it all took place within our lifetime and the complexity of it all put everyone in awe.

We watched and hung on every word that Walter Cronkite said throughout the entire space program right up until Neil Armstrong made that first step.

And, of course, we were not alone by any stretch.

From the first successful U.S. satellite launch back in the 1950s, right up to the space accomplishments of today, we have been deeply interested.

Originally all of the accomplishments in space seemed like chapters out of a comic book, but there we all were, on the world stage, watching the United States succeed where no one had gone before or since.

Our interest in the space program got a huge boost when Watertown native Dan Brandenstein was named an astronaut for the Space Shuttle program. Dan's brother Bob was a classmate of ours, further cementing our interest in the space program.

We did get the family down to see Dan's night launch and it was a spectacular event that we will never forget. The kids were young then but we can't help but wonder if that might have been a factor in our youngest's interest in space.

When he graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in astronautics engineering and was quickly hired by Boeing Corp. to work at Mission Control in Houston, we were overwhelmed with what was ahead for him.

It was Dan Brandenstein who took the time to have a meal with us and make suggestions as to where our son might find a suitable apartment while he started his new profession. At Mission Control.

Those things made the space program much, much closer to home for many in our family.

My grandmother was born back in 1895 and lived until 1994 and she could hardly put into words what she had seen in her lifetime -- As a young person no one had taken flight, not even the Wright Brothers, and then before she passed away she got to witness the moon landing!

But, back to the first moon landing. Many people will remember exactly where they were when that landing took place on July 20, 1969.

We were visiting our good friends for a little summer relaxation at their family's cottage in northern Wisconsin.

That evening, which is forever written in history as one of the greatest accomplishments, we were sitting out on the deck of their cottage, looking out into the pristine lake which was surrounded by pine trees, and up above us was the moon shining brightly, causing a shimmer of light on the lake.

TV reception in the north woods was pretty skimpy. After all, we were about 20 miles south of Lake Superior, near Iron River.

Perched on the railing of the deck was an old, small black and white television with rabbit ears. They were wrapped in aluminum foil to improve reception. We also had a radio tuned in to glean what information we could see and hear as history was being made right before our very eyes.

It was a night we will never forget.

Back then the Saturn moon rocket was dubbed the most sophisticated piece of equipment ever made in the history of the world, and that statement probably holds true to this very day.

Much more will be written about the moon landing in the coming days. Take the time to suck it all up, relive those precious moments and reflect on just what that program meant and continues to mean to our society.

We're sure there are many other stories of how people watched as Neil Armstrong took the first steps on the moon. We've heard some good stories and this should rekindle the memories of others as well.

The staff here at the Daily Times will be in contact with Dan Brandenstein in the near future to get his comments on the moon landing and also the entire space program. He certainly has a unique perspective.


Riverfest committee members will be calling businesses and industries to see if they would like to purchase some food and beverage and raffle tickets in advance and distribute them to employees as a way of saying thanks for their dedication and work.

This isn't a program for the smaller purchases which can be handled at the festival grounds, but rather for larger ones.

This advance program has been quite successful in the past and we're hoping to grow it even more in 2019. If you or your company would like to make a bulk food and beverage and/or raffle ticket purchase, just drop a note to or call 920-285-0770. And, if you have participated in this program in the past, you can expect a call soon for your continued support.

The festival is now less than four weeks away!


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