Neil Alden Armstrong, born on August 5, 1930 was the first man to set foot on the moon (whether you believe it happened or not), placing him up there amongst those never-to-be-forgotten pioneers who have inspired and captivated our imaginations throughout history.
His career path took him on an interesting journey, from aerospace engineer and university professor to test pilot, United States Naval Aviator to becoming a NASA astronaut during the height of the Cold War.
He will be remembered for his landmark statement as he set foot on the surface of the moon in 1969, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” He actually corrected the press after the Apollo 11 mission when he stated that he actually said, “This is one small step for a man…”
Armstrong was the candidate to head the mission which was America’s response to Russia putting man into orbit via their Sputnik programme. The USA couldn’t be seen to be behind their arch rivals (enemies is too strong a word) and before the world knew it they were planting a flag on the surface of that dusty old rock which follows us everywhere and the world, barring the eastern block, had a jolly big party.
Two days after his 82nd birthday, on August 7, 2012, Armstrong was admitted to hospital for a procedure to relieve blocked coronary arteries. The operation itself was a success but he fell ill afterwards due to possible infection.
He remained in Columbus, Ohio hospital until August 25 when he passed away at 2:45pm due to rising complications resulting from the surgery; a man who, if the stories are true, was lucky enough to have seen the earth as no others may possibly be able to – far from the madness, a green blue orb spinning gently and peacefully in the inkiness of space.
One small step for a man, now into the unknown.