NEW KNOXVILLE — Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon nearly 50 years ago, was a native of Wapakoneta. As we get closer to that milestone, Auglaize County is celebrating Armstrong’s legacy in a variety of ways.
“We’ve been celebrating all year, actually since last July,” said Rachel Barber, co-chair of the 2019 Celebration Committee. “We’ve been counting down to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and trying to have a nice schedule of events that would appeal to as wide an audience as possible, to remind us of how special this is that we have this Auglaize County connection to Neil Armstrong and this amazing achievement of 1969.”
On Sunday, the First Church of New Knoxville hosted a concert by the Columbus Mannerchor and Damenchor as a nod to Armstrong’s German heritage.
“On his maternal side, Neil Armstrong’s family comes from Ladbergen, Germany, which is where the people from New Knoxville came from,” Barber said. “It’s considered the best example of chain migration in the United States, where you have these people who move over here and write home to their friends and relatives in Ladbergen and say, ‘Come over to New Knoxville, it’s a wonderful place to be.’”
The choir performed songs in both English and German with the theme “Apollo, I Hear Your Call.”
“They really tried to put together a program specifically tied into the anniversary,” Barber said.
Some of the songs performed in English included Blue Moon, Fly Me to the Moon, It’s Only a Paper Moon and Look at the World.
As part of the day celebrating Armstrong’s historic walk on the moon, the New Knoxville Historical Society opened its doors to the public after the concert.
More activities surrounding Armstrong will happen June 23 in Wapakoneta. The Porch Music Fest will be held on the front porches and lawns located on Auglaize to Pearl Streets and Blackhoof to Pearl Streets.
Armstrong was a musician, participating in the orchestra, boys’ glee club and band at Blume High School. He was also a member of a band that called itself the Mississippi Moonshiners, and he played in the Purdue University Concert Band.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.