August 25, 2012

"Neil Armstrong was... a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job."

Good job!

44 comments:

tiger said...

NBC.com originally reported it was Neil YOUNG who had walked on the Moon and passed away at 82...

What's next? Matt Dillion getting credit for writing 'Blowing in the Wind'?

Astro said...

It's still hard to fathom the fact that in 1869 the transcontinental railroad was barely completed, and just 100 years later Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon.

MadisonMan said...

Thank you Mr. Armstrong. Purdue's most famous alum!

Petunia said...

RIP to a true American hero.

Lem said...

When you have to die to keep your medals..

wait a minute.

wyo sis said...

He WAS just doing his job. His job included being a hero.

Rich Vail said...

I met Neil Armstrong...and pretty much all of the Astronauts prior to 1970. You see, my father designed space suits and life support systems for, first the Air Force, then later for NASA. There are two life sized cutouts of my father in early space suits. Further, Dr. Edwin G. Vail (my father) was one of the lead designers who designed the back-pack used on the moon missions.

That being said, when I was very young, meeting these guys, was a huge highlight of my life. Mr. Armstrong was one of my few heroes, he will be missed.

jimbino said...

At least he wasn't one of those who polluted space with public Bible readings.

pm317 said...

What a trip it must have been, to see the earth from there and then to see the moon from here.. once in a lifetime opportunity.

traditionalguy said...

Armstrong seemed to be an introvert who thought things out and delivered the line that he wanted remembered. The courage those men exercised was an inner strength. No extroverts were needed along on the Moon missions for entertainment.

jimbino said...

Astro,

It's even harder to fathom that it wasn't until 1920 that women got to vote in Amerika, and just 43 years later the Russians put the first woman in space (though Ralph Cramden threatened to do it earlier).

Russian women, like Ayn Rand, seem to be leading the pack.

rcocean said...

There's a big controversy over whether he said "one small step for a man" or "one small step for man".

The 2nd is grammatically incorrect but sounds much better.

IMO.

rcocean said...

In perfect world the death of a hero like Armstrong would get 10 times the publicity of death of movie star like Clint Eastwood (also born 1930).

Chuck66 said...

Astro...there is a whole school of thought there. That we invented tons of stuff between....say 1870 and 1950, and not much since.

-Telephone, radio, TV, automobiles, airplanes, jet planes, diesel locomotives, light bulb, plastic, rockets, refrigeration, and on and on and on.

Big Mike said...

@jimbino, and it will be at least another ten years before you grow up!

Chuck66 said...

The introvert thing.....some say he wasn't the best for the first human to step onto the moon. They wish someone more charismic would have been the one. Someone to go on big speaking tours for the next few decades after doing that.

Bender said...

Mike -- sorry to say, but he is already a fully grown oinker.

By the way, even though it will probably ruin his night, but Armstrong did call upon God's blessings during the mission.

n.n said...

"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country".

Contrary to a minority opinion, this was not intended to rationalize progressive involuntary exploitation of your fellow citizens.

Bender said...

By the way, Clint Eastwood bought the film rights to his authorized biography, First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong.

pm317 said...

Rich Vail said...
-----------

wow, must have been very nice growing up surrounded by such monumental figures.

Paco Wové said...

What Petunia said... R.I.P. I was just a kid during the Apollo program, but it marked me more than I realized at the time.

Bender said...

And to really piss off jimbino, here's this little gem --
Mare Tranquillitatis (Latin for the Sea of Tranquility), where the Eagle landed, was named in 1651 by astronomers Francesco Grimaldi and Giovanni Battista Riccioli, both of whom were Catholic priests.

Joe said...

What I think is cool is that first man to walk on the moon wasn't a swagger, macho jock, but an introverted engineer nerd.

(It's not politicians, economists or lawyers who move the world forward--quite to the contrary, they hold the world back--but engineer nerds.)

pm317 said...

Joe said...
-------------
I can't imagine a guy with swagger having the curiosity or the courage to accomplish something like that.

exiledonmainst said...

Hello. Longtime lurker here.

In "Beirut to Jerusalem," written before Thomas Friedman had become a total hack, Friedman relates a story about visit Armstrong, a devout Christian, made to Israel. Armstrong was taken by his tour guide to the remains of the steps to the Temple. Armstrong asked the guide if Christ had walked on those steps. His guide replied that yes, Jesus was an observant Jew and as such, walked on those steps many times during his life. Armstrong told Friedman that it was more emotionally overwhelming for him to set foot on those steps than it had been to walk on the moon.

edutcher said...

As tg notes, he always seemed to be more the introvert than the original 7, who were all hell for leather fighter pilots.

And to read the statement Bill Safire wrote for Nixon to read if something went wrong will give new meaning to the word chills.

Astro said...

jimbino, please, don't remind me. I'll always have a grudge against Wyoming for that.

Astro said...

Chuck66 - The low-hanging fruit hypothesis. The big, important, easy stuff gets done first. After that it's more difficult to invent 'genuinely new' new stuff.

creeley23 said...

Here's a lovely tribute to the Apollo 11 moon landing. It's a sort of science fiction folk song.

More than any other work I know it evokes one's sense of awe that humans broke the bonds of Earth's gravity and landed on another world.

Worlds grow old and suns grow cold
And death we never can doubt.
Time's cold wind, wailing down the past,
Reminds us that all flesh is grass
And history's lamps blow out.

But the Eagle has landed; tell your children when.
Time won't drive us down to dust again.

--Leslie Fish, Hope Eyrie


That was a big deal.

Cedarford said...

rcocean said...
In perfect world the death of a hero like Armstrong would get 10 times the publicity of death of movie star like Clint Eastwood (also born 1930).

=================
In a perfect world, men and women who pass will be missed whether or not they are in HEROES in UNIFORM costume.

And we may elect to say certain people that were never Hero Cops, Hero Astronauts, Heroes Who Serve With Their Boots Ready to Trigger an IED, Hero politicians...are some of the best.

And we will

Synova said...

I'm taking a "Exploration of the Solar System" class this semester and Thursday we went over the Apollo missions (and everything else, rovers and flybys and Russian stuff.)

The most amazing thing to me is...

...they didn't have computers.

Not really. Not *real* computers.

And they flew to the Moon, walked on it, and flew home with their pockets full of rocks.

And now we sit on our asses and whine about the expense and risk, like wusses.

None of it, back then, was about science of course. It was about the Russians.

I said just the other day, here, that if it weren't for one-ups-manship we'd be living in caves.

Since we've outlawed pointless contests of manly chest-puffing, bigger-building, competitive fervor... we might as well move humanity back to a cave and get it over with.

Fred Drinkwater said...

In the 60s Armstrong visited NASA Ames in Mountain View CA to practice vertical landing and takeoff procedures in the X-14 (an early variable-exhaust-angle ducted-jet, like the Harrier). My dad, who was lead pilot on the Ames X-14 program, told a story that after an engine shutdown, they couldn't get it restarted. After calling for engineers for a fix, apparently he looked at Armstrong and said, "So what are you going to do if this happens on the moon?"
Hell of a thing to say, actually, but you know what? They flew the moon mission anyway.
RIP Neil, and RIP Dad.

Rich Vail said...

pm317 said...
Rich Vail said...
-----------

wow, must have been very nice growing up surrounded by such monumental figures.

8/25/12 8:34 PM

__________________________

It was...I still have a series of autographed photographs of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astoronauts...each of the "classes"

bagoh20 said...

Thank you Mr. Armstrong.

Kind of related as it's about another 80 year old pilot who is also a hero of mine.

I just got home from a celebratory day with my hang gliding club including flying, barbecuing, beers and fun. The occasion was the final flight of our oldest member. He is 83 years old.

About 50 pilots, family and friends took him to the top of our local 3500' mountain and threw him off for the last time. He requires supplemental oxygen, and some help launching. Although a hang glider weighs less than nothing in flight, they weigh about 70 pounds on the ground, and you have to carry it and run with it in order launch. This was getting difficult for him, even with help, so he is finally retiring his wings after 38 years that started when the sport was brand new in the 70's. We estimated that he has flown about 6,000 flights, including many in the early years when the sport was substantially more dangerous. He was never seriously hurt, although often arrested. You sometimes have to choose between trespassing and defying gravity.

He still hunts, fishes, and drinks like a young man. He's kind, and has a great sense of humor, and is an inspiration to me and everyone who knows him. He never made it to the moon, but he sure wore out the first few miles without using an ounce of propellant other than elk steak and bourbon.

I would be happy to accomplish any one of his milestones, especially enjoying life into my 80's. Congratulation Rome, and nice flight today!

Chip Ahoy said...

I have never seen b3ta be respectful, it runs counter to their fiber, their raison d'ĂȘtre.

Deb said...

There really is no finer praise than "good job."

pm317 said...

Via LegalInsurrection a video of moon landing.. to jog your memories. I was too little then and in another part of the world where there was no TV!

pm317 said...

Blogger Fred Drinkwater said...

In the 60s Armstrong visited NASA Ames in Mountain View CA to practice vertical landing and takeoff procedures in the X-14 (an early variable-exhaust-angle ducted-jet, like the Harrier). My dad, who was lead pilot on the Ames X-14 program, told a story that after an engine shutdown, they couldn't get it restarted. After calling for engineers for a fix, apparently he looked at Armstrong and said, "So what are you going to do if this happens on the moon?"
Hell of a thing to say, actually, but you know what? They flew the moon mission anyway


Thanks. I was hoping more comments like this (and one from Vail) on this thread from people who were close to it.

Jay Vogt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kentuckyliz said...

Eternal light grant unto Neil Armstrong, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of Neil Armstrong and all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

My second thought:
I am so sorry that he lived to see Obama cut NASA...at all...but for the stupid reason of protecting the self-esteem of the Muslims.

I know many scientists who are people of faith. In fact, they get to a place of awe moreso than many of us outside the Dr. Science club.

The Catholic influence on science is huge.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_scientists

Including priests:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Roman_Catholic_cleric-scientists

Catholics are not like fundamentalists, literalistically treating the book of Genesis as a science textbook.

Catholics do not call reason a whore. Faith and reason go together and work in harmony. The Church has been a huge patron of astronomy, especially. Seems like there's a lot of Jesuit scientists.

kentuckyliz said...

(If there were a female Jesuit order, I'd be one. Maybe I should go start it! I'll ring up the Bishop Monday morning.)

Jay Vogt said...

A sad passing indeed.

He and Buzz were real heroes to me.

I remember that night clearly. We were all glued to our 21" Zenith B&W.

I wonder if a millennium from now those men of Apollo will not be remembered so much for beginning the "space age" as for ending the "age of discovery". An age that began a thousand years ago as a couple of semi-sober, Irish monks stumbled to the shore of the then lushly forested island of Iceland.

Human travel further into space seems unlikely to me for quite a while: It's too difficult to harness and focus the required energy, to gather the sufficient capital, to underwrite the considerable risk and to articulate the compelling utility. The "shores" of the new, new worlds seem more barren the those of the old new world.

Rusty said...

Fred Drinkwater said...
In the 60s Armstrong visited NASA Ames in Mountain View CA to practice vertical landing and takeoff procedures in the X-14 (an early variable-exhaust-angle ducted-jet, like the Harrier). My dad, who was lead pilot on the Ames X-14 program, told a story that after an engine shutdown, they couldn't get it restarted. After calling for engineers for a fix, apparently he looked at Armstrong and said, "So what are you going to do if this happens on the moon?"
Hell of a thing to say, actually, but you know what? They flew the moon mission anyway.


Because he was "that" guy.

Godspeed sir.
and to your father.

lemondog said...

Via LegalInsurrection a video of moon landing

“Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.”

Eugene Ionesco