“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.” President John F. Kennedy’s Address to Congress on May 25, 1961
As we sat watching the flickering images on our old black/white Motorola television set on July 20, 1969, we saw and heard the first man to set foot on the moon state unequivocally, “That is one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.“ It was one of the grandest achievements of humans to travel to and to walk on the moon.
It was appropriate that the first landing was at the Sea of Tranquility. For the state of this planet traversing the cosmos was anything but tranquil in the summer of 1969.
Neil Alden Armstrong was one if us—humans. He had dreams growing up like we did and do. He pursued his dreams and became a global hero to a generation who needed heroes.
True heroes do not seek to become heroes. They are heroes because of what they accomplish on their road of life in their daily trek.
What can be said of Neil was best said by his family in a statement released yesterday,
“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.”
In the final analysis, Neil has returned to the cosmic ocean. In 1969 he briefly touched the outer rim of that ocean above us. Now, he will be part of it for the eons to come.
G. D. Williams © 2012
Special Message To Congress May 25 1961
NASA BIO OF Neil Armstrong (b: August 5, 1930; d: August 25, 2012)
The Armstrong Family Statement
President Barak Obama’s Statement On August 25, 2012
The Guardian’s Announcement