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Nation celebrates 50th anniversary of 1st lunar footsteps

In this July 16, 1969 photo made available by NASA, the 363-feet Saturn V rocket carrying the Apollo 11 crew, launches from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Celebrations are in full swing across the country for the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first footsteps on another world.

Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong was the first one out, proclaiming: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, cars were backed up for miles Saturday morning outside the visitor complex. In Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, runners competed in “Run to the Moon” races.

The White House reiterated its goal to send astronauts back to the moon and “take the next giant leap — sending Americans to Mars.” Vice-President Mike Pence headed to Kennedy to tour the Apollo 11 launch pad and give a speech.

Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press