National Moon Day: Date, History, Traditions, Activities & Quotes

July 18, 2022 4 min read

Every nation on Earth seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief when Neil Armstrong stepped down onto the moon's cratered surface and said, "That's one little stride for man, one huge leap for mankind." National Moon Day commemorates not only the spectacular moon landing, but also the arduous struggle to get the space program off the ground. On National Moon Day, we commemorate both the amusing and significant moments in the space race that culminated in the United States being the first to plant a flag on the moon. Stay tuned—the story is fascinating!

1. What is the Date of National Moon Day? 

On July 20th, National Moon Day honors the first lunar landing in 1969. According to NASA, the moon landing was "...the single greatest technological achievement of all time." To mark the occasion, the GLO Record of the Week will visit Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

2. National Moon Day History 

On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin became the first humans in history to land on the Moon. The epic Apollo 11 mission took place eight years after President John F. Kennedy announced a national objective of sending a man to the moon by the end of the 1960s.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy addressed a special joint session of Congress, saying, "I believe this nation should commit itself to realizing the goal, before the end of this decade, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth."

At the time of Kennedy's proposal, the United States was still competing with the Soviet Union in space exploration advances, and the plan was applauded because it came during the Cold War. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, launched the first unmanned Apollo mission after five years of hard labor by its worldwide team of engineers and scientists. The first mission was used to test the structural integrity of the launch spacecraft vehicle.

On July 16, 1969, at 9:32 a.m., the entire world witnessed Apollo 11 take off from Kennedy Space Center with three astronauts on board. The mission's commander was Neil Armstrong. On July 19, the spacecraft entered lunar orbit after three days. The next day, Armstrong and Aldrin disconnected the lunar module, Eagle, from the main command module. When Eagle touched down on the lunar surface, Armstrong radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, saying, "The Eagle has landed."

Armstrong departed the lunar module and descended its ladder at 10:39 p.m. A television camera attached to the module was recording his movements and sending signals back to Earth, where the entire world was watching with bated breath.

At 10:56 p.m., Armstrong took a step onto the moon's lunar surface and said, "That's one little step for man, one great leap for mankind."

3. National Moon Day Traditions

We will always be amazed by the first lunar landing in 1969, no matter how many years pass. Landing on the moon was a significant stride forward for humanity and our comprehension of the vast universe in which we live. National Moon Day traditions include watching films and reading books about the Apollo 11 mission, as well as watching the moon and marveling at its glorious radiance at night.

Space aficionados take out their telescopes to look at the moon, and they research NASA's planned programs and missions. National Moon Day is also widely observed in schools, with the moon serving as the primary topic of discussion in order to educate students about the historical event.

National Moon Day is also significant for individuals who are interested in astrology and astronomy. The moon's position, its effect on Earth, and the planetary moons are all hot topics these days.

4. National Moon Day Activities

National Moon Day provides numerous opportunities to explore and reflect! Did you see the historic first moon landing in 1969? What about the ones after that? Share your moon landing memories. Set up your telescope and explore the surface of the moon. A telephoto lens can even be used to investigate the surface. Begin a conversation about space exploration as you rediscover the moon. What effect does it have on our world today? Examine the preparations for future lunar landings as well. What do you think about more moon exploration?

Discover the people behind the moon landing while you're celebrating. Share their experiences and acknowledge their accomplishments. You can also mark the occasion by reading books or viewing films about the Apollo 11 mission or the events that led up to it:

David Sington directed the film In the Shadow of the Moon (2007).

Paul J. Hildebrant directed First to the Moon: The Journey of Apollo 8 (2018).

Charles Fishman's One Giant Leap: The Impossible Mission That Took Us to the Moon

Andrew Chaikin's A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts

Margo Lee's Hidden Figures Shetterly

Use the hashtag #NationalMoonDay to share your discoveries and stories on social media.

5. National Moon Day Quotes

“Everyone is a moon and has a dark side, which he never shows to anybody.” 

“Yours is the light by which my spirit’s born: – you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.” ― E.E. Cummings

“We all shine on…like the moon and the stars and the sun…we all shine on…come on and on and on…” ― John Lennon

“The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.” ― Carl Sandburg

“We are all like the bright moon, we still have our darker side.” ― Khalil Gibran

“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time.”

“Be the moon and inspire people, even when you’re far from full.”

“Never tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”

“The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.”

“She and the moon could always be found playing in the darkness.”

“With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon who could not be happy.”

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