A great man indeed, not only due to his lunar achievement but also in the way he conducted himself.
In a very small, but nevertheless significant, way, he affected the way I acted today. I was feeling somewhat stressed due to some last-minute changes in the organisation of a conference for which I’m responsible. Thinking about the pressures he must have endured made me realise that my own concerns my small fry and that there was no need for me to lose my head.
A sad and poignant moment in history indeed. While I have met Buzz Aldrin, shaken him by the hand, and been duly humbled by doing so, the same can be said by many, as Buzz has always been gregarious and widely seen in public.
But Neil’s quiet, dignified withdrawal from the fray always struck me as deserving great respect and placed him on a different plane. He will remain, without doubt, a man worthy of the highest admiration.
As the Economist’s editorial rightly points out, I believe, the first moon landings of are one of the very few events of the 20th century likely to be remembered in the 30th. More than that though, Neil Armstrong is likely to be known by name then too, the ultimate accolade.
A superbly competent yet modest man, and I’m glad he lived long unlike a lot of test pilot/astronauts. Although the lion’s share of the credit is surely owed to von Braun, Neil Armstrong was an outstanding figurehead and nobody over 50 will ever forget Apollo XI. RIP.
There are many old pilots and many bold pilots but few old, bold pilots. :-|
No disrespect to Armstrong, but the space programme in the US in the 1960s was of course a very huge team effort. Apart from von Braun, Kennedy of course played a major part in the man-on-the-Moon aspect of things.
And smart of Armstrong to screw up his famous line by leaving out the “a”. However, this provides a strong argument against those who believe that the whole thing was done on a soundstage. :-) (There was no Mr Gorski though.)
Any truth to the rumour that Aldrin was originally planned to be first on the Moon but Armstrong got the honours because he was (intentionally or unintentionally) closer to the door?