one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind
The man who said those famous words has taken the final step of his life. Yes, Neil Armstrong has passed away at the age of 82 due to complications following heart surgery.
Armstrong was a qualified aeronautical engineer. As a naval pilot he saw action in the Korean War flying over 70 missions. After leaving the navy he became a research pilot and flew many experimental aircraft.
He will, however, be remembered as the first man to walk on the moon. I, like some 500 million people around the world, watched in awe as on July 21st 1969 Apollo 11 touched down on the surface of the moon. We watched as Armstrong and co-astronaut Buzz Aldrin spent several hours on the surface of the moon, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs and we watched their return to planet earth.
After the Apollo program Armstrong spent some time teaching and also as spokesman for American businesses.
Neil Armstrong was a true hero, an inspiration to a generation.
Correspondents say Armstrong remained modest and never allowed himself to be caught up in the glamour of space exploration.
“I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer,” he said in February 2000, in a rare public appearance.
In a statement, his family praised him as a “reluctant American hero” who had “served his nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut”.
The youth of today, who seem to only aspire to fame and celebrity without putting in the work and effort, could do worse than look to him as a role model.