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The first flag on the moon

DKH_18Sidewalk Photographer Alex Richman and the intrepid Mrs. Richman covered a lot of ground (more than six miles on foot) in Washington D.C. during the last weekend of July.

One of the photographs he took (shown below) was of the Lunar Module #2-Apollo, which was never used on a lunar mission.  Now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, it is a stunning exhibit (and no doubt one of the more expensive ones—but less expensive I suppose, than an entire moon mission). (Click into the photo icons for larger images.)


lunar module #2---ApolloAlex’s photo reminded me of a previous Daily Flag article and my subsequent search for photos of the Eagle Lunar Module, used in the the first moon landing. I had concluded that the first flag on the moon surely was mounted on the Eagle L.M.  I spent several hours searching for photos then, but came up empty-handed. I think I was searching using the words Eagle lander instead of lunar module, and I was in the Library of Congress web site instead of the Smithsonian.

But thanks to Alex, my interest in the Eagle L.M. was renewed, and he pointed me in the right direction.

And this time I found what I was looking for.

upside-down lunar module Eagle with US flag visible

The "upside-down" Eagle lunar module is on its way to the surface of the moon. Just to the right of the center ladder, and toward the bottom, the U.S. flag is visible.


lm_apollo11_big.jpg decent

Earth, Moon and Eagle lunar module perfectly captured in one frame by astronaut Michael Collins.



In this photo, the flag is hard to see, but it is to the right, and about even with Buzz Aldrin’s helmet.


NASA photo of lander with visible US flag 

Three flags are shown in this photo: the one on the lunar module—visible just to the right and slightly above the astronaut’s helmet. The second flag is on the astronaut’s life-pack (I don’t know the proper name for it), and the third flag—one of the most famous in the world—the one Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin "planted" on the moon.

So now I know what the first flag on the moon was, and so do you—for next time this question comes up on a trivia game!

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First moon landing stamp with US flag patch

First Man on the Moon stamp 1969

First Man on the Moon stamp 1969

The first US stamp to depict the Stars and Stripes on the moon was the 10c airmail stamp (Scott C76) issued on September 9, 1969, to commemorate the successful moon landing of Apollo 11 and crew Neil Armstrong, Col. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., and Lt.Col. Michael Collins.

Created by artist Paul Calle, the stamp was printed from a master die carried to the moon, in the lunar module “Eagle.” The flag of course, is a patch on the left shoulder of astronaut Neil Armstrong. In the years to come, there would be many more “moon stamps” prominently showing the flag, but this was the first.

The first US flag on the moon was probably on the lunar module Eagle itself, but I will need to research that and see if I can find photos from all sides of the module.

Writer George Amrick details the story of this first “moon landing” stamp, and others, at It is a fascinating story and I hope you will take the time to link over and read it.

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American Flag Planted on Moon

apollo-11-astronauts.jpgThirty-eight years ago today, two Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the lunar surface. Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong stepped on another body revolving around our sun. Armstrong stepped down first, and uttered these famous words,

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Aldrin and Armstrong spent two and one-half hours on the surface of the moon, during which they planted the American flag. The three Apollo 11 astronauts—Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins—made history that can only be repeated by standing on Mars and planting a U.S. flag. No, not quite the same, but very, very close.

buzz_salutes_the_us_flag.jpgThe skeptics were plentiful, as some still believe the whole thing was a show on a sound stage. A good argument against the hoax theory is the USSR. They monitored the entire event (through gritted teeth, I’m sure). If the moon landing had been staged, they would have known it and said so, with great joy.

July 20, 1969 found me enjoying the summer before my Senior year of high school. I was working, playing, and having a good time. I remember the landing, but little else about where I was or who I was with.

How about you? Where were you when Armstrong took that small step?

Deborah here: I was with my sister, Linda. We were clustered with a dozen girls around a TV set in the lounge of the student nurses’ dorm at Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo, Texas. We watched the entire event from start to finish, which extended late into the evening as I recall.

You can read more on this at the Johnson Space Center NASA site.