Forty-five years ago on Sunday, two Americans took the first human steps on the moon in a groundbreaking and momentum-changing moment for the entire world.

The following day, The Washington Post ran a front page reflective of the magnitude of that moment for humankind: All five stories were related to the landing.

Leading the page was this headline: “‘The Eagle Has Landed’ — Two Men Walk on the Moon.” (See a PDF of the page here.)

Post reporter Thomas O’Toole, with the Houston dateline, led his story with the now-iconic Neil Armstrong quote (which later became the subject of some minor confusion): “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”

Armstrong, who died in 2012, later told the press that he said, “That’s one small step for a man,” but that missing word was lost in translation somewhere between the moon and Earth.


American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon 45 years ago, as part of NASA's Apollo 11 mission. Here's a look back at six compelling moments from America's successful manned moon missions—from a lightning strike to golf balls in space. (Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)