Space Hero

TAKING ONE step is no big deal, unless it is on the moon.

Neil Armstrong made that historic step on July 20, 1969. Many of us were riveted in front of our television sets watching the moment unfold. It is estimated that 600 million people around the world (1 in 5) viewed Armstrong walking on the moon.

It is a scene etched in time and history, as are the words he uttered in doing so, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

It was a watershed event in the space race as the United States was locked in a battle with the Soviets to reach the lunar surface.

Armstrong’s magical moment joins the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. as events that will remain fresh in our minds.

Armstrong became an instant hero that day, and rightly so. The uncertainty of the how his lunar walk would play out is unfathomable. He was the ultimate pioneer, blazing a trail deemed impossible decades earlier.

Sadly, Armstrong died Saturday. He was 82. His death leaves us without a true gentleman cast in the role of hero.

Armstrong served as the commander for the Apollo 11 mission which went to the moon. It was likened to the legendary voyage made in 1492 by Christopher Columbus to America, and in some respects that is true.

The lunar mission rocketed Armstrong into instant fame. However, he was not one to seek the spotlight, rather happy to carry out his duties in the background.

Armstrong in later years remained a staunch supporter of manned space flight. He took exception when it was decided to shut down the space shuttle endeavors.

Armstrong leaves behind a legacy that we all can embrace.