WAPAKONETA, Ohio (WDTN) — Walking in the footsteps of the man who helped us make one giant leap.
“[We] both played baritone in the marching band, I was Vice-President of the marching band, he was Vice-President of the marching band,” says Wapakoneta graduate Cedric Gegel, who was at the school about 60 years after Neil Armstrong. “It’s weird how much we have in common.”
Before his one small step for a man, Armstrong made thousands of those steps in Wapakoneta.
It’s a path Gegel is familiar with.
“He used to run on the same streets we did and ended up on the moon, it’s kind of inspirational,” Gegel says.
But no matter where you’re from, Armstrong’s leap from humble beginnings to heroic deeds still echoes through history.
It’s why roughly 30,000 people from more than 80 countries visited the Armstrong Air and Space Museum last year.
“That’s what they’re drawn to,” says Museum Educator Emily Richard. “Someone who could dream big and accomplish such great things and it’s something we’re going to remember for years and years to come.”
The museum tells the story of Armstrong’s journey to the moon aboard Apollo 11.
Inside you can find everything from spacesuits to a moon rock.
Broadcasts of the landing play in the background.
The Hinton’s remember watching it live.
“Neighbors and friends, we all gathered together that night,” says Orpha Hinton. “It was very emotional.”
Now they’re taking their great grandkids to experience what they did all those years ago.
As for Gegel, he may not follow Armstrong to the moon.
“He beat me there,” Gegel says.
But those steps will still get him pretty far.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re from New York or from a town of 50 people, if you follow your dreams and really believe in it and work hard you can do that,” Gegel says.
As part of the celebration this weekend, two Ohio astronauts will be on hand at the museum Saturday.