Neil Armstrong, A True American Hero (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) RIP

Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong said he didn’t like to be called a legend because legends were old people. Neil Armstrong was never old and he will live for as long as there is history.

Neil Armstrong, like many of the astronauts, began as a test pilot. He was a humble man and felt he was never good enough to be picked to be the first astronaut to step on the moon – he thought he was just lucky. But he was the right man and his words as he and Buzz Aldrin, with fuel running low on July 20, 1969, are written in the indelible works of history for as long as there is mankind.

“Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed,” Armstrong informed mission controllers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, with the restrained tone that was the mark of the man’s humility.

I was a child watching along with many of the nation’s children, I could feel the tension, the danger, the glory, and mostly the heretofore unimaginable dream when two-and-a-half hours later, I got to hear him say for the first time “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind,” as he stepped upon the moon for the first time. I felt chills and then I cried.

I was so fortunate to watch this great event from my TV and to hear his words. It formed an impression on me that will live with me until I die as will the memory of Neil Armstrong, one of the greatest astronauts of our time.

He had surgery in early August for blocked arteries. He was doing well and the family had planned a big barbecue for him. Sadly, he couldn’t make it. He died Saturday at age 82, that’s not long enough for a man like Neil Armstrong.

“Neil was among the greatest of American heroes — not just of his time, but of all time,”President Obama said in a statement. “When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation.”

I appreciate the president’s words, but he is also the man who has stripped NASA of its very essence and hopes to make it a support group for the Middle East as one of three goals.

Armstrong never used his position for self-gain and stopped giving autographs when he realized they were being sold for astronomical amounts of money.

Armstrong symbolized a dream that there is nothing man cannot do and there are still lands to explore, far beyond our planet and we can go there.

“Even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone,” his co-pilot Buzz Aldrin said in a statement on Saturday. “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.”

CNN tribute:

2009 CNN Interview: