Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died at 82. The moon landing was always history to me and I think those who didn’t experience those first reaches into space forget how revolutionary human beings going into space was.
Only last week I came across the speech President Nixon was prepared to give if the moon landing had failed and they had to leave Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon. The full speech:
“Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
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They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.”
Thankfully, we remember their mission not in tragedy, but in awe. For a few short years, we sent human beings into space–to the moon. It seems that ambition to touch the stars has faded, but hopefully not completely died. I think one day soon we’ll again slip the surly bonds of earth. But no matter how far we go, we’ll always be chasing men like Neil Armstrong.
Godspeed, Commandeer Armstrong. Thank you for being so fearless and inspiring all of us to reach for the stars. I hope we follow you again soon.