American icon Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died Saturday (August 25) due to heart-surgery complications, officials said.
” Neil Armstrong was a hero not just of his time, but of all time,” said President Barack Obama in a statement. “Thank you, Neil, for showing us the power of one small step.”
As commander of the Apollo 11 space flight on July 20, 1969, half a billion people, a sixth of the world’s population at the time, watched a ghostly black-and-white television image as Armstrong backed down the ladder of the lunar landing ship Eagle, planted his left foot on the moon’s surface, and said, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Twenty minutes later his crewmate, Buzz Aldrin, joined him, and the world watched as the men spent the next two hours bounding around in the moon’s light gravity, taking rock samples, setting up experiments, and taking now-iconic photographs. The third member of their crew, Michael Collins, orbited overhead in the Apollo 11 command ship, Columbia.
In those first few moments on the moon, Armstrong stopped in what he called ‘‘a tender moment’’ and left a patch to commemorate NASA astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had died in action.
Although he had been a Navy fighter pilot, a test pilot for NASA, and an astronaut, the modest Armstrong never allowed himself to be caught up in the celebrity and glamour of the space program.
‘‘I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer,’’ he said in 2000 in one of his rare public appearances. ‘‘And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession.’’
Below is a statement from his family:
“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.
Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.
Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.
He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.
As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.
While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.
For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the 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.”
Via »ABC News