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Neil Armstrong - First Man on the Moon - Dies today at 82


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I was 19 in that year of Armstrong's great feat of courage. I had no desire to be an astronaut, but I could appreciate his bravery and it was an event that brought the country together. We have nothing like that now in this age of divisive political and economic stupidity. I'm not even sure I know the United States anymore...we are hardly united by any means.

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It did bring the country, perhaps the world, together--if only briefly. I'll never forget the awe and raw emotion in Walter Cronkite's voice as he narrated the event. Neil Armstrong was for many of us an example of the best we had.

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I had no idea this had happened until I read this thread. I am blown away.

I was eleven years-old and obsessed with what we called the "Space Program" back then. I had built plastic models of the Saturn V, the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo spacecraft. I had every book about space travel I could find. I was watching Walter Cronkite on CBS with astronaut Wally Schirra when the Eagle landed on the Sea of Tranquility and was amazed when I saw tears in the eyes of both my grandfather and Walter Cronkite. I lay on my grandfather's bed and watched those first, grainy, ghostly pictures of Neil Armstrong descending the ladder outside the Lunar Module late that Sunday night. It was the most exciting night of my life.

The whole world was obsessed with Apollo 11 those two weeks. Commentators called it the equivalent of Columbus discovering the New World, the greatest event of the last thousand years. And, this humble man who refused to take the credit for it, but said he stood on the shoulders of thousands of men and women who made it possible, represented the best of the human spirit.

I've always thought that his refusal to be a hero, to stand in the limelight, to be The Hero the country needed to keep us inspired in the space program contributed to the loss of interest by the public. Someone like John Glenn would have basked in the glory and, I think, would have promoted space more and kept the public from yawning over future achievements. However, Armstrong's humility was, itself, an inspiration. He deserves a hero's funeral and a hero's celebration of his life and his achievements.

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I remember it vividly. Watching it on the black and white TV in the playroom on the first floor. It was doubly exciting because it was the middle of the night. I remember my mother got bored, but my dad was there to explain. It was an intensely exciting event.

It's sad Armstrong has gone. :sad:

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I had just turned 25 and was working in office as a stock security clerk. (most boring job I ever had.)

I convinced the boss to let us all go after lunch into the hotel, next to the office, so we could see Neil take his giant step for Mankind.

Sigh...it was wonderful. I never looked at the moon the same way again.

I think people felt that we had all walked with him.

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