Today the first human being to ever set foot on the moon passed away from complications of cardiovascular surgery. My inner geek girl is weeping softly for the man who has made such an impact on my life….because of him I have never quite given up hope of being an astronaut. A foolish childhood dream? Of course…but that’s what childhood dreams are for.
Throughout the day I have watched the news and ensuing coverage of his death and have a new respect for this ‘reluctant hero’. In these times when so many people would sell their souls for media coverage, it is ironic that the man who performed what must arguably be the most momentous step in the history of mankind would shy from the spotlight.
As part of NASA’s Apollo missions, the Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed man on the moon. Together with Buzz Aldrin, who also walked on the moon, and Michael Collins, who for 15 hours was the loneliest person in history being left alone in lunar orbit, Armstrong made history by landing on the moon on July 20 1969 and then 6 hours later, stepping foot on the surface. Then at 2:56 UTC July 21, 1969, he spoke the famous words “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
The statement released by his family said:
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.
“Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.
“Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.
“He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.
“As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.
“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.
Perhaps the most poignant and touching part of the statement was the how we could honour the memory of this great man…
“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.”
Tonight I will be winking at the moon and remembering this wonderful man.