“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”
— Paul Brandt
I am so sad to hear of the death of Neil Armstrong. I was just a kid when he and Buzz Aldrin made their now famous flight to land and walk on the moon for the first time. It made a profound impression on me at the time, and as I have read the comments of others today regarding his death, I realize that I am definitely not the only person that was so impacted by watching the first moon landing. I seriously doubt that there will ever be another moment in time around the world like that one either. For just a little while, everyone around the globe seemed to just stop what they were doing to watch this all play out on live TV, many of us watching it along with Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra, who actually got misty-eyed at one point.
I’ve been able to spend some time over the past ten years or so reading more about Neil, Buzz, Mike Collins and all of the Apollo missions. It really is fascinating to read all about the missions and the astronauts involved, and the internet has made much of that information very easy to find, along with some fabulous pictures. This photo gallery is one of the best ones that I’ve found, too.
Many of the Apollo astronauts and some key people at NASA, like Gene Kranz and Deke Slayton, wrote great books. I’ve read some of them and intend to read the others as I can, too. While some are fairly technical and way above my head at times, they are still great reads as these heroes share their own stories in their own way, and to me, they were very inspiring. I even have the Apollo 11 mission videos bookmarked in my You Tube account. Occasionally, I watch them and just remember that fabulous time when we all really did reach for the stars for the first time – and made it, right alongside Neil and Buzz. I only wish the generations that have come after me could somehow have that same experience in their own lifetimes, but I don’t think we will ever replicate the worldwide excitement, anticipation and sheer joy of that moment when Neil set foot on the moon. It was magical, but it was also real.
Update 8/26/2012: Eugene Cernan Remembers Neil Armstrong
(This is a truly great radio interview about the first man on the moon by the last man on the moon.)
Neil Armstrong on the Surface of the Moon
— NASA 40th anniversary photo
1.6 Million “Earthlings” Bid Farewell on Twitter…
RIP, Mr. Armstrong, and thank you so much for the memories of a lifetime. You really were a hero. Prayers going up for your family.