One of my all-time favorite childhood heroes, astronaut Neil Armstrong, died today. I was just 9 years old when Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin journeyed together aboard Apollo 11 to the moon. I can clearly remember watching that and other space missions of the 1960s and ’70s on television, clipping articles about them from the newspaper and reenacting innumerable splashdowns in the bathtub with my GIjOE astronaut and space capsule. I LOVED America’s adventures into outer space. I even remember watching some of the missions in my elementary school classroom in Austin, Texas. The teacher wheeled in a big black and white television set with “AV” painted on the side (remember those?) and we thought it was the most exciting and “high-tech” thing to have a TV in the classroom. Yes! But back to Armstrong…According to the Reuters article announcing his death:
“Armstrong died following complications from heart-bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month, the family said in a statement, just two days after his birthday on August 5.
As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. As he stepped on the dusty surface, Armstrong said: ‘That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.’ Those words endure as one of the best known quotes in the English language.”
Bottom Line: Armstrong and Aldrin’s actual time on the moon was very short (only 2 1/2 hours) and the Apollo 11 mission was only one small part of Armstrong’s long and storied career. To learn more about this amazing man, I highly recommend you read the Wikipedia account detailing his many accomplishments found HERE. God Speed, Commander Armstrong!