Sunday, August 26, 2012

RIP Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong has taken the largest leap known to mankind:
Armstrong, 82, died Saturday after surgery earlier this month for blocked arteries. A fighter pilot in the Korean War, a test pilot and an engineering professor, he will also be remembered as the astronaut who fulfilled the goal that President John F. Kennedy set out — to put a man on the moon by end of the 1960's — and the first among equals in the pantheon of astronauts from the moon race.

"Neil was among the greatest of American heroes — not just of his time, but of all time," President Obama said in a statement. "When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation."

Armstrong became the symbol of the dream not just of one country but of a whole world to reach beyond our own planet . "Even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone," Aldrin said in a statement on Saturday. "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."

I was only four when Armstrong did this:


  1. July 1969 was the first landing accoring to what my mom told me. I don't remember. I remember later missions when they would wheel the TV into the class room but we were too young to be interested and everyone got figgety.

  2. I remember EVERYTHING about that day because I was eight. We sibs had to get up early and put on our Sunday best to sit in front of the telly. We were really put out because those clothes were HOT and mine was a dress :( Mommy got us in 3 of the most precious snapshots ever to capture the moment for my father, who was in Greenbelt, MD. monitoring the gyroscope feedback data for that mission. Mommy was so proud of Daddy, she was crying happy tears. I know I was proud then, too, but not really thinking it was such a big deal. I thought, " Our president said we were going to the moon and my dad's been working on it, so OF COURSE it's happening. This is the USA." An true American exceptionalist if ever there was one. Now I cry the happy tears of pride to say "My daddy wasn't smarter than a rocket scientist. He WAS a rocket scientist!" He like Neil, would have been 82 this year, and the world seems like a smaller, dimmer place now, without the examples of scientists, engineers and professors lauded and lionized by public figures the way they USED to be. Horrible Ronald Reagan started the trend, and the lizards now controlling the Republican Party are putting the finishing touches on it all by ignoring the data we have on global climate change, Fukashima, DU munitions, stem cells, fracking, GMO's; the list is endless. My registered Republican, Women's League of Voters mom would have fought tooth and nail to keep the current convention crop out of any office based soley on their record against women's reproductive health control, especially legal abortion. SMH. Days like today make me know it's NOT the same USA for which I covered my heart with my hand. There's been dark days in this country's history and I hope through civil engagement, we can get to a spot where, when I finally fly the Stars and Stripes again, I won't have to put it out upside-down, which is the way I feel right now.

    1. NM thank you very much for sharing that. That could be my favorite comment ive ever read on a blog!

    2. From a regular blogger like yourself, I truly appreciate your feedback. Thank you so much, you've made my day ;)

  3. Neil Armstrong was a true American hero, someone we all should be thankful for for his service to our nation.
    I remember July 1969 in Wauwatosa, watching his "one small step" at our neighbors' house, and every person was overjoyed, filled with hope for the future for everyone. I was especially proud because my aunt worked in Milwaukee at the place (AC Sparkplug) that made the guidance system that took them to the moon and back safely.
    I recently heard the reaction at NASA when the Curiosity rover landed safely on Mars; their was a big celebration, for parallel reasons to that of the moon landing.
    Neil Armstrong has made some statements in recent years stating that perhaps some of the true mission of NASA was being reduced due to efforts to privatize the operation. He was right--NASA was a government operation, but it was not somehow socialistic, as it always employed lots of contractors like AC Sparkplug to build their space travel system.
    May Neil Armstrong's legacy live forever!

    1. Yes, thank you for your response. So many, many people gladly contributed to the common cause to advance mankind through these missions. Some through direct government employment, others through government subcontractors like JPL or Raytheon or manufacturers like AC Sparkplug, Sperry Controls etc. Others contributed through the progressive income tax system to finance the advancement of science and technologies that proved to have direct benefit to improve consumer products or living standards in the fields of health, communications etc.

      All of this grew our economy at an unprecedented pace. Additionally increased revenues to government were all derived from the investment, especially in education and training, our government made in the original GI Bill. We could replicate yet another "Greatest Generation", if only those in charge of policy would again promote FREE college education and vocational training, as it used to do to enhance a broad based social upward mobility, especially for those against whom the Republican party is currently intent on recreating obstacles. This could immediately be achieved by declaring a student loan Jubilee or re-permitting the discharge of student debt in Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. A modest re-allocation of resources by the enactment of a Tobin tax and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for those whose incomes are above $250,000, would go far to address the need for economic stimulus that the Republicans continually bleat on about, while not giving credit to the expired stimulus that kept teachers and other public segment workers in the discretionary income category.

      Truly green technologies, especially in the closed-loop energy segments such as solar, wind, wave and yes, even fusion are the perfect new imperative-driven missions we could use to boost the economy; a rising tide to lift all boats. Sadly when too few of us are willing, those ways are further out of reach. The blessings of information and communication let each of us know we are not isolated dreamers but linked by necessity to not let the selfish keep us down or out. This would be a way to give Neil Armstrong's legacy a permanence of substance over lip-service style.