This week the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong died at the age of 82. Think about that sentence for a minute. "He walked on the moon!" Only 12 men could ever say that, and he was the first.
Being first has its benefits. Tough to remember the other 11 as it has been 40 ish years ago. I was little, but I remember that July night, it was also my dad's birthday. So we watched with jaw dropping amazement with cake and ice cream. We were walking on the moon.
Armstrong was an American hero. And he was the best kind. He was humble, and a team player as were almost all of those Gemini and Apollo guys in that era. The whole goal was to beat the Russians, and get on the moon by the end of the 1960's and make President Kennedy's dream come true. It was all about the team in those days. The country was a team united on getting to the moon, and back home safely.
And he was the right guy with the right stuff. Amazingly brave men were moon walking 250,000 miles away from home with zero margin for error. Literally zero. He, and they were asked to to incredible things that those on the ground "thought" would work. No way to really test these machines, no way to know for sure if all would be fine. Armstrong spent his youth perfecting things in space for the first time that became routine and mundane for future generations to watch on HD TV with Gemini and later the Apollo programs. These guys may be the bravest explorers ever.
It was somehow nice knowing that Armstrong was still alive, to now it's sad to hear that he has passed. An era can come to and end with the death of one, and it seems that this one has ... with his. Now, Neil Armstrong begins a new trek to a higher place similar to the last great adventure he took at age 38. Now at 82, it's seemingly a heavenly journey.
Only difference is, he and he alone, can say he was there before.