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Very sad news.

The Washington Post has just reported that Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures, according to a statement from his family. The statement did not say where he died.

Read more here about the life of the “quiet self-described nerdy engineer who became a global hero when as a steely-nerved pilot he made ‘one giant leap for mankind’ with a small step on to the moon …

he modest man who had people on Earth [including this author] entranced and awed from almost a quarter million miles away…”

May this American legend and hero Rest In Peace. Our condolences to his family.

CODA:

The New York Times now also has a great story on Neil Armstrong here.

It is interesting that the Times uses a nearly identical intro as the Post does to describe the hero:

Neil Armstrong, a quiet, self-described nerdy engineer who became a global hero when he made “one giant leap for mankind” with a small step on to the moon, died Saturday.

Perhaps this will become the fond legacy of this great American.

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Statement by the President on the Passing of Neil Armstrong

Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Neil Armstrong.

Neil was among the greatest of American heroes – not just of his time, but of all time. When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable – that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.

Today, Neil’s spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown – including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure – sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.

Statement by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta:

“I was deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of Neil Armstrong, one of America’s greatest heroes and Naval aviators. On behalf of the Department of Defense, I express my condolences to the Armstrong family during this difficult time.

We are bidding farewell to one of our own. As a decorated Korean War veteran, as an astronaut for NASA, and as the first man to walk on the moon, Neil inspired generations of Americans to believe that as a nation we are capable of achieving greatness that only comes with determination, perseverance, and hard work.

As a true pioneer, his one small step showed all mankind the great feats we can accomplish when we set ourselves to the task. While Neil is no longer with us, his spirit and his legacy of American achievement and national pride will live forever.”

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Statement by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden:

“On behalf of the entire NASA family, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Carol and the rest of the Armstrong family on the passing of Neil Armstrong. As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own.

“Besides being one of America’s greatest explorers, Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all. When President Kennedy challenged the nation to send a human to the moon, Neil Armstrong accepted without reservation.

“As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong. We mourn the passing of a friend, fellow astronaut and true American hero.”

(More statements by NASA officials here)

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Statement by Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy:

“On behalf of the men and women of the Navy Department, I extend my deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to the family of Neil Armstrong.

“Mr. Armstrong rightly belongs to the ages as the man who first walked on the moon, a pioneer of space exploration and science. A giant. But to those of us in his Navy family, he will also remain a shipmate — a naval aviator who flew nearly 80 combat missions during the Korean War. A leader.

“He never wanted to be a living memorial, and yet to generations the world over his epic courage and quiet humility stands as the best of all examples. It is not merely his “small step” we admire; it is his very large and humble heart.

“The world has lost a legend. We have lost a friend, unique in our lifetime and never to be out of our minds.”

Image: Courtesy NASA

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • slamfu

    That great man can now truly be a legend and take his place in the history of mankind. He was and will be a reminder of what we as a species are truly capable of when we refuse to accept our limits.

  • ordinarysparrow

    May he know endless blessing, a sincere humble man, a giant loss and reminder of one that carried the American dream without blemish….

  • SteveK

    Well said Dorian, slamfu, and ordinarysparrow.

    ordinarysparrow’s “… and reminder of one that carried the American dream without blemish….” pretty well says it all.

    Neil Armstrong was a truly gentle, generous man, as well as an American Hero. I’d be tempted to add “or bluster.” to ordinarysparrow’s very eloquent words.

  • The_Ohioan

    I’ve always been most impressed by the self-effacing Mr. Armstrong’s unwillingness to use his fame for money or glory or political reasons. I can imagine he had such a spiritual experience during that feat, that anything else would be dross beside it. Farewell to a real hero, you made us so proud; go in peace.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Steve K says, “Well said Dorian, slamfu, and ordinarysparrow.”

    You know what? As I am adding statements by our leaders,I notice that your comments are as eloquent, powerful and meaningful…

    Edited:

    And let me hasten to add TO’s comments, and I’ll take a rest now…

  • JeffP

    How fortunate I was to have seen this fine human take that small step.

    When I look with my telescope at that beautiful moon (wondering always about the Apollo 11 site), all these years later (I was 8 years old) I still remember that grainy television image of the footprint on the moon surface, with the clicking, partially radio-broken Armstrong voice that likely represented America’s most significant, and magnificent accomplishment, in my lifetime.

    I am so proud of Neil Armstrong, and his colleagues with NASA. Rest in peace, good sir.

    • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

      I was a little older, JeffP, and I also remember it so well. There are at least three (public) events in my life that I’ll always remember as if they happened yesterday: The Kennedy assassination, 9/11, and Neil Armstrong’s “one small step”

  • STinMN

    NASA has the Armstrong family statement at http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/aug/HQ_12_600_armstrong_family.html From their statement

    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.

    I think I’ll wink at the moon tonight when I take the dog out.

    • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

      Thanks for posting the Armstrong family statement, STinMN.

  • ordinarysparrow

    One of my memories of this also included Walter Cronkite…

    Cronkite is deeply linked in memory of the 60’s… so many tragic events where going on… John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, the Vietnam war as we had never seen the face of war before, the protests… Then there was Neil Armstrong stepping on the moon… ” One small step for man. one giant leap for mankind.” And Cronkite removed his glasses, this time not for tears but with a giddy joy ….

    How i remember being awe struck as i gazed up at the moon that night… There really was a moon man…

    I hope Walter Cronkite is there to meet Neil Armstrong this day with a smile that says, hard times no more….

    • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

      Thanks, OS