We lost a legend yesterday – Neal Armstrong, the first human to step onto the surface of the Moon.
I still remember the grainy black and white TV pictures as he climbed down the steps of the LEM to step onto the surface of the moon. It truly was “…one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The entire landing on the moon fired the imaginations of kids and adults everywhere. Space themed toys were sold, and interests in engineering, aerospace, and NASA soared. Thoughts of colonies on the moon and beyond were imagined and planned, although the interest and funding have waned in the intervening decades.
Some quotes from around the news agencies:
“As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them.” From Charles Bolden, NASA’s administrator.
“Neil was among the greatest of American heroes — not just of his time, but of all time. When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable.” From President Barack Obama.
“He was the best, and I will miss him terribly.” From Michael Collins, who flew to the moon with Armstrong.
“Even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew.” – Buzz Aldrin
“He had nerves of steel. If anyone ever had the ‘Right Stuff’, it was Neil Armstrong. But he was a dignified, quiet man. He could have had the world at his feet but he went back to teaching, that was what was important to him.” – Space historian Roger Launius of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” From the Armstrong family.
Thank you, Neal, for your quiet inspiration to us all.