Sunday, 26 August 2012

He Made One Giant Step For Mankind

This portrait taken in July 1969 shows astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission
Those of us who had our youth in the Sixties will remember the decade for its manyfold achievements and for the other momentous events that took place at the time.

The music from Merseyside that rang in our ears, the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas and perhaps above all, the first footsteps on a planet other than our own.

So it is sad to hear the news today that the man who stepped on to the Moon in 1969, Neil Armstrong, has died at the age of eighty two, after belated complications from heart surgery.

It is also perhaps fitting to remember how relatively primitive the technology was at that time compared to the Mars Curiosity Rover which is currently traversing the terrain of that planet.

Armstrong had to manually take over the controls to land the lunar vehicle Eagle on the Moon, demonstrating what a superb test pilot he was.  The world then waited with bated breath as he descended the steps onto the surface of the moon, stirring up lunar dust as he did so.

He was a modest man who did not seek publicity which in my mind is also an endearing attribute.  Perhaps the great tribute that can be paid to him are the words that he used himslef on that momentous day in 1969:

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"

Thank you Neil Armstrong for being the pioneer that you were and for helping define our generation.
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