Neil Alden Armstrong, first man to step on the Moon, has died on saturday 25th August 2012, aged 82. Born on 5th august’30…(A Leo!), he made the historic remarks, “That’s One small step for Man, a Giant Leap for mankind” – as he stepped on the moon, on 20th July 1969.
I have always been proud that I was born in the same year (1969) when Man had landed on the Moon.. (I was a 4 month old fetus in my mother’s womb at the time of the lunar landing!) Way back in Sri Lanka, in my boy-hood years, I used to have a reprint of a photograph.. not sure how I came by it.. probably got it from my father or an uncle .. It was the one of the 3 astronauts who had been to the moon! It was one of those small possessions I had treasured. (And here it is, that same photo.. below – thanks to NASA).
It’s not a deeply painful sadness, but sadness nevertheless – that I feel that this man has dies yesterday. Many will know from reports, that Neil Armstrong shunned any sort of publicity for many decades, and only recently came out to do some speeches. Everyone has asked him what it’s like to have had that experience, and he’s given his answer so many hundred times.. but the real feelings he would have experienced – could have been expressed. I mean, how does one express the enormity of that… the first human to step foot on another planet (!) other than Earth??!!
And what is lost today is that most precious and unique `experience’ which none of us will ever have.. until another human sets foot on the next world…most likely Mars!!
I hope I live to see that day..
Meanwhile, I have collected together some statements about Neil Armstrong…by Buzz Aldrin (2nd man to walk on the moon!) and USA President Obama – first black american to become President of USA!
Statement from Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 lunar module pilot:
“I am very saddened to learn of the passing of Neil Armstrong today. Neil and I trained together as technical partners but were also good friends who will always be connected through our participation in the Apollo 11 mission. Whenever I look at the moon it reminds me of the moment over four decades ago when I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a landmark moment in human history. I had truly hoped that in 2019, we would be standing together along with our colleague Mike Collins to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing. Regrettably, this is not to be. Neil will most certainly be there with us in spirit.
“On behalf of the Aldrin family, we extend our deepest condolences to Carol and the entire Armstrong family. I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer.”
-Taken from NASA site > http://www.nasa.gov/topics/people/features/armstrong_statements.html
Statement by the President on the Passing of Neil Armstrong
“Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Neil Armstrong. Neil was among the greatest of American heroes – not just of his time, but of all time. When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable – that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten. Today, Neil’s spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown – including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure – sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.” –
Taken from the official website of the Whitehouse> http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/25/statement-president-passing-neil-armstrong