WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A parade was held in Warwick Saturday afternoon to honor the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic first steps on the moon.
Armstrong was the first one out famously saying “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” to the roughly 600 million people watching on Earth.
“I was 7 years old and I remember it was big. I mean it was huge!” said Warwick resident Muriel Morrison.
Warwick’s Conimicut Village Association has been planning the celebration for months. Organizers believe it was one of the only parades in the nation to commemorate the anniversary.
“It was exciting it was really really exciting, and it’s exciting today!” said Sherwood “Woody” Spring of Glocester. “We’re watching the television just laying on the living room floor talking about life and all of a sudden they’re landing on the moon. They’re Landing On The Moon! Oh my! And that kind of rejuvenated my interest in being an astronaut.”
Spring, a former astronaut, served as the Grand Marshal of the parade that included a replica rocket and command center.
The oppressive heat and humidity didn’t scare away the hundreds spectators, who were armed with water bottles, umbrellas and fans.
Lonnie Barham, of the Conimicut Village Association, said canceling was always an option. “But I mean a year and a half of planning and so many people planning on coming, we did put a bunch of water stations up, and Conimicut has a lot of shade trees.”
“This is the only one of its kind in the country celebrating an accomplishment that John Kennedy started,” said Joseph Rodrigues of Warwick.
The festivities brought back memories and a renewed passion for space travel. Many hoping it will inspire a younger generation to look toward the stars.
“Going along with the Mars program that they’ve started now, I’d like to see that continue and maybe we can be the first ones there,” said Warwick resident Ron Morrison.
Tonight’s full WaterFire lighting is also in honor of the moon landing’s 50th anniversary. It is sponsored by the NASA Rhode Island Space Grant Consortium.