'There was a great deal of pride’: Va. man remembers Apollo 11 Mission 50 years later

'There was a great deal of pride’: Va. man remembers Apollo 11 Mission 50 years later

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As the country celebrates 50 years since the launch of Apollo 11, one Virginia man says he can still remember the feeling from the rocket exhaust.

“It was up and gone way too soon,” John Cofer said.

Fifty years after the Launch of Apollo 11 and the first manned mission to land on the moon, Virginia native John Cofer still remembers the feelings from that day in 1969.

“We got up in the dark of the morning and drove to get in line on the base with the car pass,” Cofer said.

Cofer’s mother got a car pass for the family to attend the launch from Cape Kennedy.

“We got a great spot that was right across the marsh land and you could see the rocket perfectly,” Cofer said.

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men ever to step foot on the moon.

“I was kind of surprised to see all of this rocket exhaust and not hear anything. Other than I heard cameras clicking and ‘oohs and ahhs’ up and down the parkway,” Cofer said.

Cofer says it was different than watching the launches on television.

“I remember as an elementary school kid going out for John Glen launch. We were in Richmond at Ginter Park Elementary and we all went out,” Cofer said.

The shock waves shortly hit the 16-year-old.

“When it hit - it was the most amazing sound. It was from your chest down to your bare bones and crackling sound. My shirt was flapping,” Cofer said.

More than anything, Cofer remembers his pride for his country

“The antenna on our car was broken and I got an American flag and stuck it in the hole of the antenna. We had the American flag driving around. There was a great deal of pride about it,” Cofer said.

From the youngest, to the oldest.

“She was crying after it because the pride. Just to witness that it teared her up a little bit because it was America at its finest,” Cofer said.

If he could do it all again, he would

“If I could live those days over for the Saturn V, I would relive and find a way to go to every one of those,” Cofer said.

Cofer says NASA invited him to several launches and landings since Apollo 11.

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