I was 14 years old in the summer of 1969. As a ten-year-old I'd enthusiastically discussed the details (those that I knew) of Gemini missions with neighborhood friends and still clearly remember being in the first grade when John Glenn flew in Project Mercury to become the first American to orbit the Earth.
On the night of July 20th, 1969, I watched the live TV coverage of Armstrong and Aldrin's first steps on the Moon, then raced to my bedroom and grabbed the little 3" reflecting telescope that I'd hand-made the summer before. I stood on my front lawn and through my telescope I looked at the First Quarter Moon filling my eyepiece and thought to myself, "I'm looking at a world in outer space where there are people, right now." Remember, Star Trek had recently been the rage among adolescent boys (at least it was for me), and "2001: A Space Odyssey" had been in theaters only a few months earlier. Space was our future. This is where humanity was headed. It all seemed so inevitable. To be fourteen years old and to hold all those thoughts in your head while looking through a telescope at a distant world where we were... that was amazing stuff.