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Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)


“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.”

Statement released by the Armstrong family

I feel quite remiss in not mentioning some of the biggest–and saddest–news to come from the science and aviation worlds this past week.  Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on another world, has passed away due to complications from cardiac surgery.  The man was a hero to many people around the world and across generations; his historic journey happened nearly fifteen years before I was born, but he instantly found himself among my pantheon when I learned who he was and what he did.  To this day, I credit his story for my desire to fly, to discover, and to understand the universe around us.

I think my tardiness in this number has been due to a want to make a “proper” eulogy for someone who was monumentally important not only to me, but to human history.  However, from what I know of Mr. Armstrong, he was not a man of fanfare. Armstrong was a uniquely humble man, and wanted only to lead by example; a larger-than-life hero who was more down-to-earth than his achievements would insinuate.  Besides, I think Luna herself provided the most fitting tribute to the first human to visit her:

Neil Alden Armstrong passed away August 25 and was laid to rest on August 31, the night of the second full moon of the month.

Farewell, Mr. Armstrong, and godspeed. #WinkAtTheMoon