So yesterday one of my great childhood heroes took his final giant leap.
Neil Armstrong did what most boys in my generation dreamed of doing one day: Becoming an astronaut and traveling to the Moon. I still vaguely remember the first lunar landing in 1969, watching live footage from the Moon with my parents and sisters on our old black-and-white TV. Being only 4½ at the time I don’t remember much, and I am certain I didn’t realize the magnitude of what was happening: That this was the first time mankind walked on another planet!
(Granted, a small one, and airless, and quite close as astronomical distances go. But still.)
Neil Armstrong came back to Earth, and he stayed down to Earth. I don’t remember hearing much of him after the Apollo flights. He did host a series of broadcasts on the Discovery Channel – the “First in Flight” series. Who better? He did it well. But mostly he stayed below the horizon, so to speak, also refusing invitations to involve himself in politics.
The story of his “Good luck Mr. Gorsky” comment, while amusing, is almost certainly an urban legend.
Neil Armstrong will be remembered for as long as mankind is able to remember its heroes. R.I.P.