He Flies With The Stars Now...
Neil Armstrong...the very first human being to walk on the Moon has died today and for this star-struck child of the Apollo Space Program it is a Sad, Sad day indeed...
I was obsessed with going to the Moon...what 7 year old boy in July of 1969 wasn't?! We all wanted to ride that gigantic candlestick (The Saturn V Rocket) to the Moon and perhaps beyond. And it all seemed POSSIBLE now because of what these magnificent men of the Apollo, Gemini and Mercury Space Programs did. They fulfilled President John F Kennedy's Promise to put an American on the Moon before the decade of the 1960's was out...and they most certainly did that.
It was all so incredibly exciting, watching mission after mission of men go up and get closer and closer finally ending with a successful landing on the Moon and Armstrong's immortal words: "One small step for Man, One giant leap for Mankind". He was a larger then life figure for boys like myself...a real explorer like Columbus or Lewis & Clark except he lived in our world right now.
Another exciting aspect to Armstrong being the first Man on the Moon was his connection to Purdue University where my Grandfather worked and a great many family members went to school...my father, aunts/uncles and even my son Ian. He would periodically speak at a function at the school so as a young man I actually heard him speak a couple of times on the importance of Space Exploration...something I still feel strongly about today.
He was a very shy and private Man...in addition to serving in the Korean War as a Fighter Pilot in the Navy, he was also first and foremost a scientist in addition to being an astronaut and pilot.
Today our country lost a true LEGEND...one of it's great HEROES. Rest In Peace, Neil.