Man on the moon

These were moments in the summer of 1969 that seared into the memories of millions of Americans, even those who were too young to really understand what was happening.

The brilliant Saturn V rocket roaring into the blue Florida sky.

The tense hours and minutes as the American astronauts drew closer to the moon.

The overwhelming emotion and pride as we watched man take his first steps off the surface of the Earth.

This week, as the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, those memories will replay in our minds. We'll remember the sight of the rocket launching at 9:32 a.m. EDT on July 16. We'll remember where we were on the night of July 20, what we said and how we felt as we huddled with family or strangers to watch the grainy images on black-and-white TVs. Few events in our lifetimes, if any, will ever feel as powerful and significant to so many Americans.

In honor of the Apollo 11 anniversary, we asked people across the country to share what they remember about the launch and moon landing. We also tracked down a few of the people who helped make the space program possible.

Explore our readers' memories of Apollo 11: