The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

‘The Eagle Has Landed’: How The Post covered the Apollo 11 landing

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.