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“Houston, Tranquility base the Eagle has landed.”
Some six hours later he, Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder of the Lunar Module (L.M.) Eagle and said to the world “One small step for “a” man, one giant leap for mankind!” the “a” is something he always asked historians to add, regardless of the what and how (lost transmission, forgotten whatever it doesn’t matter) the audio recording doesn’t have the “a” in it.
The year before July 1969 one of my friends did a report on NASA in school. Up until then I followed NASA as most Indiana kids did because of Purdue (many astronauts went to Purdue) and because of Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom who came from a small town in Indiana just South of where I was living at that time. From the moment of that report everyone boy in my class was obsessed with everything NASA. (at times even passing our Indiana addiction to the Indianapolis 500 mile race). We drew spaceships and talked about the possibilities of space and beyond.
For 12 minutes on July 20, 1969 I, my father and half of our country held our breath as the Eagle left the command module and landed on the surface of the moon. That event is one I will never forget, sitting in our basement in the Sherwood Oaks subdivision of Bloomington Indiana on the on the edge of the couch watching that flickering video as the craft landed. Then again staring intently as the hatch opened and Neil Armstrong walked on the surface of the moon. 286000 miles away from me, yet right in my family room.
There are movements that shape and define the world. Truly that was one of the positive moments showing what humans could do if we focused more on achievement than on conquest.
I never met Neil Armstrong. We lived in the same city (Cincinnati Ohio) and I have been to the museum dedicated to him in Wapakoneta Ohio. I saw him speak one time at one of the few events he did, But no matter what he changed my life. I became dedicated to technology and the improvement of the world though bettering what we can do.
Neil Armstrong passed onto the next phase of existence yesterday, August 25th 2012. I hope he has the same successful touchdown in heaven that he had in my heart and on the moon.
“Quietly the hero left the room. All that was left was the silence of his passing.” Sandler Boggs (published 1983)