Posted by: kshayes513 | August 26, 2012

Footprints on the Moon

Neil A. Armstrong, August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012

Small town boy, Eagle Scout, Korean War veteran, test pilot, aerospace engineer, college professor. And one of the most honored and revered human beings of the past hundred years. Next time you’re out where you can see the moon, look up at the lower edge of the dark patch in the upper right quarter (the left eye of the moon’s “face”).  His footprints are still up there. If you had a telescope strong enough, you could see them in the lunar dust alongside those of his fellow astronaut, Buzz Aldrin.

Armstrong’s being first down the ladder to the surface of the moon made him the most famous astronaut in history. By all accounts, he earned that place and that fame for many reasons; for example, he was an exceptionally skilled pilot who executed critical maneuvers on both of his space flights. His life after Apollo 11 shows that he was also an extraordinarily modest and private man, who went on doing his job and living his life without seeking any of the easy celebrity or wealth he could have earned from taking that one small step.

He was my hero, as he was the hero of many. One of my most treasured memories of adolescence is the night I sat with family and friends in front of a 20″ black and white TV to watch live as he climbed down that short ladder and spoke those famous words.  I never met him, never heard him speak, and I know that many people who did know him will miss him much more than I. But my world seems a little smaller and a little older today, because Neil Armstrong is no longer in it.

I can think of no better farewell than the one his family offers us all:

“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.”

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