Neil Armstrong – An American Hero

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walked on the moon, passed away at the age of 82.  Armstrong symbolized everything that was right about America; bravery, ingenuity and a pioneering spirit.  He was an American hero.  In 1969 he was recognized as such when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom which is the highest award a civilian can receive.   But it was not a simple journey.  There were many setbacks including the loss of three astronauts in Apollo 1 during a launch pad test.  But that did not deter the US or the astronauts who would eventually be chosen to man Apollo 11.  Armstrong flew twice in to space, the first time, in 1966, in the Gemini 8 spacecraft.  That mission, which was scheduled to test docking procedures in orbit, was aborted due to a critical error with the thruster rocket.  His second flight in space was aboard Apollo 11 which would take him, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon.  Collins was the command module pilot and never actually walked on the moon.  No one will ever forget the words Armstrong spoke as he first stepped on to the surface.  “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.   The US had finally overtaken the Russians in the space race, a battle we were losing from the day they launched Sputnik in to a low earth orbit in 1957 until the mid 1960’s.  But even as Armstrong was planting an American flag in to the dead terrain, he was representing not just the hopes and dreams of the USA, but of an entire planet.  Despite man’s propensity for violence and war, that flag planting demonstrated the capabilities man possessed if only he put his mind to creating as opposed to destroying.  That’s how I will remember Neil Armstrong.  Rest in peace.

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