This is a sad day in Betty’s world.
Today’s obituary: Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American NASA astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator, and the first person to set foot upon the Moon.
Let that sink in for a moment. The first man to set foot on the moon, July 26 1969 has perished.
Although he was just one N.A.S.A. (National Aeronautics and SpaceAdministration) team member in a pool of extremely intelligent and talented individuals, Mr. Armstrong was lucky enough to be chosen to command Apollo 11 and even luckier to be first down the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) planting his feet firmly in lunar soil then muttering the all too familiar phrase “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind” thus forever cementing his name in American history.
Little known fact: Mr. Armstrong actually stated “That’s one small step for (a) man: one giant leap for mankind” as man/mankind would have been improper use of the English language because man is synonymous with mankind. But the (a) was blocked by static so the recording and phrase we all know to this day is forever cemented in history.
So why is Betty so sad? Mr. Neil Armstrong was one of my childhood hero’s! In elementary school I would read about space missions up to and including landing on the moon. Then I would run out and play as if I were an astronaut. Circling the jungle gym like it was the moon, coming in slowly, after burners at half thrust, slowly easing my spacecraft onto the top then leaping to the ground screaming; “that was one small leap for all kids, one giant landing for all kidkind!”
Yep we all wanted to be astronauts! Space suits, space ships, stars and planets, we dreamed and we dreamed big. At night coming in from the barn the moon would call to me like a lost friend. Staring at its kindly giant face, wondering what it was like to stand on its forehead looking back at our giant blue sphere. Knowing that Neil Armstrong stood there, gazing upon his home from a perch that few would ever see! What did he think, how did he feel? Was he scared? Did he worry that he and his crew may never come home?
Yeah space the final frontier; these are the voyages of the star ship Enterprise! Her five year mission to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before! Crap! Wait wrong fantasy! I also used to pretend I was Captain James T. Kirk, but that story is for another time.
Astronauts, sheriffs, firefighters, teachers, superheroes (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Capt. America etc..) Cowboys, sports heroes, they were all there for us to idolize and admire. To dream about becoming as we grew into adults. These images forever etched into our minds, approved of by our parents and lived in the fantasy play periods of our afternoons.
Where are today’s heroes? Who do our children have to look up too? When my kids are in their forties who will they look back upon as being their childhood heroes? Computer generated actors? Rappers? Boy bands? Disney created childhood mental cases waiting to explode as adults? I am just not seeing it! Where are the brazen leaders, moral guided heroes, larger than life humans that stand by their convictions leading the way for all youngsters to dream?
Am I wrong? Is it just me?
Rest in Peace Neil Armstrong. Thank you for the endless hours of dreaming your bravery brought to my young life.