Sunday, August 26, 2012

Godspeed, Neil Armstrong....August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong, first human to walk on the Moon, Ohio native son from Wapakoneta, passed away yesterday, August 25th. He was 82. Along with Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, Armstrong made up the crew of the Apollo 11, landing on the Moon in 1969.

From Buzz Aldrin, his copilot for the Lunar Module:

Press Kit

Buzz Aldrin’s Official Statement on the Passing of Neil Armstrong

Aug 25, 2012

By: Buzz Aldrin

I am deeply saddened by the passing of my good friend, and space exploration companion, Neil Armstrong today. As Neil, Mike Collins and I trained together for our historic Apollo 11 Mission, we understood the many technical challenges we faced, as well as the importance and profound implications of this historic journey. We will now always be connected as the crew of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, yet for the many millions who witnessed that remarkable achievement for humankind, we were not alone.

Whenever I look at the moon I am reminded of that precious moment, over four decades ago, when Neil and I stood on the desolate, barren, yet beautiful, Sea of Tranquility, looking back at our brilliant blue planet Earth suspended in the darkness of space, I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by many millions of others from around the world in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a historic moment in human history.

I had truly hoped that on July 20th, 2019, Neil, Mike and I would be standing together to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing, as we also anticipated the continued expansion of humanity into space, that our small mission helped make possible. Regrettably, this is not to be. Neil will most certainly be there with us in spirit.

On behalf of the Aldrin family, we extend our deepest condolences to Carol and the entire Armstrong family. I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer.

May he Rest in Peace, and may his vision for our human destiny in space be his legacy.

Other reactions:
“(T)he next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
– Armstrong family statement

“Ohio and the world lost a brave pioneer today. Thanks for giving us the moon, Neil Armstrong. God bless.”
– Ohio Gov. John Kasich

“To this day, he’s the one person on Earth I’m truly, truly envious of.”
– John Glenn, first American to orbit the Earth, former U.S. senator

“(A)s long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them.”
– Charles Bolden, NASA administrator

“ ... his humble and gracious response to the torrent of attention that followed his accomplishments (may) have set him apart most. For my family and me, he was a dear friend whose ready smile, quick wit and thoughtful gestures will be greatly missed.”
– U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio

“Our nation and indeed the entire globe has lost a courageous and unassuming hero who served humankind in a way that captivated our imagination and served as an inspiration for generations of scientists and explorers. Our University of Cincinnati community is truly saddened by his loss. We are very honored that he chose to serve on the engineering faculty at UC for many years.”
– acting UC President Santa Ono

“Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes. With courage unmeasured and unbounded love for his country, he walked where man had never walked before."
– presidential candidate Mitt Romney

“I know people thought he was withdrawn, but he really was warm and friendly with his friends. He was always a gentleman. When I was in Congress, and had a Veterans Affairs meeting, Neil was only too willing to come and speak with the veterans, and give his opinions on some of the issues that confronted them.”
– William Keating Sr., former Enquirer publisher, former U.S. Congressman

From the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra:
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of legendary astronaut and American hero Neil Armstrong. The Cincinnati Pops had the honor and privilege to collaborate with Mr. Armstrong on a number of occasions, most recently at Riverbend Music Center in 2009 when he narrated Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait. We were also honored to have him attend a Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra concert this past season. We join with the rest of the world in honoring his remarkable contributions, and are keeping his family in our thoughts and prayers."

From Cincinnati Museum Center:
"Cincinnati Museum Center is deeply saddened by the passing of Neil Armstrong. He was a long-time friend and advisor to the Museum of Natural History & Science and Cincinnati Museum Center. He served as a member and chairman of the board of trustees of the Museum of Natural History & Science at its Gilbert Avenue location. In 2004, Armstrong was an honorary co-chair and spokesperson for the Union Terminal operating levy campaign. Through NASA’s ambassadors for science program, Armstrong chose Cincinnati Museum Center to receive a moon rock collected during his Apollo 11 mission. His moon rock is on display in the Museum of Natural History & Science at Cincinnati Museum Center along with a replica of his Apollo 11 space suit and tools."

“Neil has been an inspiration to so many, here locally and around the world,” said Douglass W. McDonald, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “He is truly an American hero and a man of quiet dedication to science. We hope his contributions to science and humanity will continue to inspire future scientists and engineers in generations to come.”

I never met Mr. Armstrong, but my father told me all about him. My dad had the honor and privilege of hearing Mr. Armstrong speak and meeting him when he gained his Eagle Scout rank. Mr. Armstrong further inspired my family to be admirers of the space program. The autographed picture of Mr. Armstrong he gave to my dad remains a treasured artifact in our family. Mr. Armstrong epitomized American dignity and class.

Godspeed, Mr. Armstrong, back to the heavens at last.....