Those who lived through Neil Armstrong’s famous first steps on the moon can usually tell you to this day where they were when it happened. On July 20, 1969, millions of Americans watched their television sets completely captivated by the black-and-white image of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepping unto the uncharted territory of the moon. Armstrong’s phrase “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” has stood as a symbol of American pride, unity and remembrance for 43 years.
Although known as a legend and a hero, Armstrong was always a very humble and simple man. He was a very private and humble man who was quick to give the credit to others and considered his accomplishments as simply part of his duty to his country. The 1969 moon walk was Armstrong’s last launch.
Armstrong passed away at 82 years of age on Saturday, August 25, 2012 following complications from a heart-bypass surgery he had undergone earlier in the month. His family stated that “Neil Armstrong was 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 remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.”
We remember this humble American hero and pay tribute to his family. In the words of his family: “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.”
May we all take a moment to remember this great man of history and to honor his memory by striving to be a bit more kind and humble, like him. And, tonight and any night, when the sky is clear and the moon beckons above, give a salute and a wink to our very own “man on the moon.”
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