Centennial WWII veteran shares unique connection to Apollo 11 crew

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. — This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which brought the first humans — both Americans — to the lunar surface.

Not everyone today was around then to watch it happen, but there is one man in Centennial with a NASA connection who remembers the moon landing better than most.

Bob Stong, 93, is a 10-year resident of Holly Creek Retirement Community, and he loves the music from his earlier years.

“I don’t know, it seems to have a lot more sense to it than a lot of the stuff that the kids are jumping around on now,” he said.

Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington and the Andrews sisters are among his favorites.

It makes his fellow residents feel good too. Stong is the “on air” personality here on HCRK, Holly Creek Radio.

Stong likes looking back, and this week, there’s a lot to look back at. Fifty years ago, the World War II Navy veteran was traveling the U.S. when man took that historic step.

“I was a representative for Caterpillar tractor company,” Stong said.

He watched the lunar landing and the historic first step on the moon, along with millions of others as Walter Cronkite narrated.

“That was my first thought when he stepped on the moon: I wondered if the man on the moon would ever be the same,” Stong said.

The moon may be small, but so is this world. Stong is a fraternity brother of Buzz Aldrin and went to school with astronaut Gus Grissom.

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