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From Long Island to the moon: My grandfather's role in Apollo 11

Fifty years ago, NASA changed the world with the Apollo 11 moon landing. This is the story of Edmund Brierton, who helped play a role in NASA's iconic mission.

James Brierton

Courtesy The Brierton Family

This is a personal reflection written by WCNC Digital Executive Producer James Brierton.

I wasn't born when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon in 1969. I wasn't even born when my grandfather passed away some years later.

My grandfather, Edmund Brierton, of whom provided the inspiration for both my father's middle name and my own, worked at Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation in the 1960s. He played one of countless roles in the project of getting man to the moon and back.

Grumman was a really big deal on Long Island in that era -- or so I've been told. Ask anyone who lived there in that time period, and I think they'll agree.

"When your dad worked for Grumman, it was a really big deal," my Aunt Laura explained to me.

Grumman's Bethpage facility was huge. During the company's tenure, they built many legendary pieces of machinery. Some were military, like the F-14 Tomcat. And some were civilian, like the postal truck you still see at your mailbox today. 

However in my eyes - and I venture to say the eyes of many - Grumman may be best known for the Apollo Lunar Module (LEM), the vehicle that carried every American astronaut on moon missions.

Credit: NASA