IN MEMORIAM
NEIL A. ARMSTRONG
1930-2012
Posted 27 AUG 2012 by Michael Brian Smith
It seems like anytime I write anything anymore it is to eulogize someone or something that meant a
great deal to me in my life. As I was at work on Saturday, 25 AUG 2012, I came across the article
stating that one of my most important heroes had died. Neil Alden Armstrong.

I was born in a time when we had no US flags unfurled on the lunar soil. No American boots trod that
soil. No blithering idiots claiming we never went there. At that time in 1967, the US was in Vietnam.
We were ongoing the onset of social change. In my mind, this was to the detriment of our great
country. An amazingly youthful president declared that we should go to the moon in this decade, not
because it is easy, but because it is hard. In January of 1967, three Americans died in an Apollo
capsule, making things very hard. This event shook the NASA of the past to the core and shut down
the confidence in the land of Liberty.

In his quiet way, Neil Armstrong became a great American hero. Not only did his confidence and
determination help America gain optimism in the future, his example made many children put him on
a pedestal that he truly deserved.

I am one of those kids.

A lesser man would take the honors thrust upon him and cash in on them. A lesser man would be on
all the media sites claiming that this was the way it should be. That he was the best from amongst his
peers. Then a long boring television reality show... Ugh.

Back in the day, I memorized the names of all the astronauts. Top of the list were the men of Apollo
11, and on top of that list was Neil Armstrong. That is the way, in my mind, heart, and soul, it will
remain.

After the parades and adulation from the citizens of Earth, he left NASA. I mean, come on. When you
have walked upon another planetary body, what else is there?

He taught in universities and served in commissions, particularly the Challenger disaster
investigation. But no matter what he did, he was always the penultimate American hero. A
Cincinnatus, if you will. A man who took the public stage when he needed to, then stepped off the
stage for others to continue the work he helped perform.

Neil Armstrong is a hero minted in a time when we truly needed them. Where are our Armstrongs
today?

Requiescat in pace, my hero.
Updated with love on 10 SEP 2012
Photo from NASA