Neil Armstrong: A Remarkable Life May Be Lost, But His Footprints Will Forever Remain

Neil Armstrong: A Remarkable Life May Be Lost, But His Footprints Will Forever Remain

Rachel Lang, Staff Writer

“Neil was among the greatest of American heroes-not just of his time, but all time…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.” President Obama released this statement on the day of Neil Armstrong’s death on August 25, 2012. Armstrong’s death was the effect of difficulties with cardiovascular procedures caused by a recent bypass surgery. Neil Armstrong, a legendary astronaut, made a groundbreaking achievement in exploration and became a human symbol of accomplishing the unimaginable by being the first man to walk on the moon.

Armstrong has been honored and admired since he first became commander of Apollo 11 lunar spacecraft. Before he made history a tedious space race was in action. America was in a competition against Russia due to the Cold War. On October 4, 1957 Russia launched a missile, Sputnik, which was the world’s first satellite and an original manmade object placed into earth’s orbit. This was a huge success and America was behind in the space program. John F. Kennedy made a public announcement that we would land a man on the moon before the end of the decade. After, the space program went in full force and Apollo 11 was finished with five months to spare.

On July 20th, 1969 the world changed, becoming curious with hope and inspiration of a new world, the great beyond: space. They launched the spaceship at 9:32 a.m. on July 16th from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and four days later they landed on the moon. After six and a half hours Armstrong opened the exit and slowly walked down the ladder on national television for all of America to see the first man step on the moon. “Houston, tranquility base here, the eagle has landed,” were the first words that Neil Armstrong spoke. Armstrong carried an American flag and a plaque that read, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.” The moon walk lasted two hours and nineteen minutes and then they made their way back.

Neil Armstrong slowly withdrew from the public eye shortly after his accomplishment. He led a very private life and continued to complete his own personal goals. He worked as an associate administrator in the space program, a university professor, and as the director of numerous corporations. He did not wish to hold any fame or power and rarely did interviews. However, some members of his family hold the opinion that he was guilty for taking the entire spotlight, that people only identified him when they should also be recognizing the hundreds of people that made it possible for him to complete the moon mission.

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” Is the most memorable quote that Neil Armstrong stated after arriving on the moon. Although Neil does not take credit for his discovery, America will always view him as a hero, look up to him for his courage, and admire him for his grace and modesty. He became a symbol of endless possibilities, the ability to accomplish dreams that were once unreachable, and he set the fire of belief and hopes that anything could happen. Armstrong’s eighty-two long years of life were measured in one astonishing achievement, the success that followed, and the impact he had on the world. Charles F. Bolden Jr., present NASA administrator stated, “As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own.”