Neil Armstrong, who will forever be etched in the world’s memory as the first person ever to set foot on the Moon, died today after complications arose from cardiovascular procedures, according to CBS News. He was 82. This is, for sure, a dark day in American history.
Armstrong represented a class of astronaut that every boy of my generation and subsequent ones aspired to be like at one point, a true hero among so many paper ones. While the comic and sci-fi/fantasy genres have their heroes and influences and outright wondrous figures by way of mythical, heroic, and positive, Neil Armstrong, in his true, reality human flesh and blood of a man, TRULY represented those aforementioned attributes. The feat he achieved by landing on the Moon with his crew of the Apollo 11 back on July 20, 1969, had stood and will stand ever more so now in his passing as one of the most breathtaking and inspiring images of all time, certainly the television footage remains arguably the greatest iconic image in the history of broadcasting. Millions upon millions of people stood frozen at television sets and large screens put up all over the world when the event happened, an all too rare time of a communion of people put together for a POSITIVE cause. Armstrong, at the helm of it all, was the perfect choice of astronaut at the time, with his rugged good looks, calm, strong demeanor, and every boy’s hero kind of swagger.
Armstrong got his start in the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War and then flew and tested over 900 different types of aircraft before joining the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1962. He flew a few space missions until the seminal mission for all time one when he went to the Moon on the Apollo 11 mission with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. When Armstrong touched Moon soil for the very first time, marking the first time an individual had ever touched that soil, he uttered the phrase which became folklore which stands with some of history’s finest, greatest, and more remembered quotes of all-time:
“That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Apollo 11 stood as his final mission, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, and the Congressional Gold Medal in the decades that followed his historic flight.
He taught for a while during the 1970s and became a figure of epic proportions for the rest of his life after the Moon Landing, on par with a Charles Lindbergh or an Amelia Earhart, even possibly surpassing both in terms of public recognition.
According to CBS, his family described him as a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, and also as “a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job.”
Neil Armstrong will always stand as a bonafide American hero, an individual who brought the world together that fateful day back in 1969, to marvel at his wonderful achievement, in the galaxy of space. His passing marks the end of a life which enriched others, which inspired millions upon millions of children and adults, and proved to them that sometimes, even if in a blink of an eye, the impossible, can seem possible. RIP to a true superhero, a true hero, a true American, and a truest human being of the highest quality in every sense of the word, Neil Armstrong.
RIP Neil Armstrong
August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012