“Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”
(A tribute to a Hero extracted from different articles listed below).
It is in the nature of man to want to be the first. It bestows a form of immortality, a name remembered for all time. The 82-year-old Neil Armstrong, Commander of Apollo 11 mission and first human to set foot on the moon, passed away Saturday, Aug. 25.
Neil Alden Armstrong was born on Aug. 5, 1930, in the small town of Wapakoneta, Ohio, to Stephen Armstrong and the former Viola Louise Engel. His father was a state auditor, which meant the family moved every few years to a new Ohio town while Neil was growing up. At the age of 6, Neil and his father took a ride in a Ford Trimotor airplane, known as the Tin Goose. It must have made an impression, for by the time he was 15, he had learned to fly, even before he got his driver’s license.
Armstrong enrolled in Purdue University to study aeronautical engineering but was called to duty with the U.S. Navy in 1949 and flew 78 combat missions in Korea.
After the war, Armstrong finished his degree from Purdue and later earned a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He became a test pilot with what evolved into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, flying more than 200 kinds of aircraft from gliders to jets.
For a time, he was an associate NASA administrator for aeronautics, but he tired of a Washington desk job. Ignoring many high-level offers in business and academia, he returned to Ohio as a professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Cincinnati and bought a farm near Lebanon, Ohio. He also served as a director for several corporations.
There is a story about Neil Armstrong that will endure forever. It goes like this: when he was climbing back into the lunar lander after his first historic walk on the moon’s surface, Armstrong is said to have muttered under his breath, “Good luck, Mr Gorsky”.
Since the astronaut’s entire moonwalk was broadcast over an open mic, soon the whole world was wondering (or so the story goes), “who the hell is Mr Gorsky?” They figured maybe it was a rival Russian cosmonaut until years later Armstrong allegedly made a clean sweep of it during an interview. Mr and Mrs Gorsky lived next door to the house where grew up. One day while he and his brother were playing baseball in the yard, his brother hit a flyball which landed in the Gorsky’s yard, right under an open window. As he ran over to pick up the ball, Neil Armstrong heard Mrs Gorsky yell, “Sex? Sex? You’ll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon.”
To Armstrong, fame was not just unwanted, but unwarranted.
“I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer,” he said in 2000 in one of his rare public appearances. “And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession.”
The Armstrong family’s statement ends with the following 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.”
To read the full articles:
- Winking at the Moon in Memory of Neil Armstrong (universetoday.com)
- Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon, Dies at 82 (universetoday.com)
- RIP: Neil Armstrong, at 82 (geeks.thedailywh.at)
- Neil Armstrong: The American Hero Passes Away (guardianlv.com)
- Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon, dies (suntimes.com)
- RIP Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon [Space] (gizmodo.com)