August 25 2012

R.I.P. Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong

The passing of Neil Armstrong this morning isn’t merely a sad day for America, but for the world.

I normally try to avoid writing about the same thing on two blogs in the same day, and even though I already covered the passing of Neil Armstrong on TechnoBuffalo, I felt motivated to also talk about this particular story a bit more personally.

Armstrong has had his detractors over the years with people saying he let the fact that he was the first man to step foot on the Moon go to his head. To that I say, he earned it. Yes, there were thousands of people that helped him get there, and while the reports of whether or not it really did go to his head conflict, I couldn’t really care less. Don’t you think he might have earned a little bit of a right to go, “Yep, that was me!”?

I certainly do.

That aside, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin are men that should be remembered for centuries to come. They were the men who put their lives in the hands of those thousands of people in the hope that every single not, bolt, cog and circuit would work properly and not only get them to the Moon, but also land them, take back off and come home. As the Apollo 13 mission demonstrated, this was not some walk in the park to pull these journeys off.

For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by space exploration, and I probably will be for the rest of my life. Many times over the years when I have gazed up at the Moon I have thought about what an amazing feat it was that we put men up there. I then look at the current state of our space program and just shake my head. Anyone up for orbiting the Earth … again?

Perhaps we need men like Armstrong, Aldrin, Conrad, Bean, Shepard, Mitchell, Young, Duke, Cernan and Schmitt to come around again and help us dream of what is out there in the night that surrounds us. One can always hope that people with that sort of fortitude will come along every so often and tell us to get off our back ends and get out there.

For now, I shall just mark the passing of Neil Armstrong and think of him any time I look at the Moon.

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