Neil Armstrong R.I.P

August 27, 2012

Neil Armstrong, the modest, cool astronaut who made history in 1969 by being the first man to walk on the moon, died, aged 82, from complications following heart surgery. He, along with Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Michael Collins took that very risky trip on Apollo 11 to what was then unknown territory. Why? Because it was there. They were made of the right stuff.

Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin

From the left: Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin

I was a very small Pie when, with my mum, I watched Neil Armstrong take that step on the moon. I didn’t know exactly what was going on as the grainy picture flickered into life, but I could feel the importance of the occasion and I remember his quote, as almost everyone did who was around at that time: “That’s one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind.” My mum kept a copy of the Daily Mirror newspaper, featuring an image of that epic event on the front cover, for many years. I wonder if she still has it.

The statement from the family regarding his death was very moving. I was particularly struck by this quote:

“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 can see the moon from my kitchen. When it comes around again I’ll be giving it a big wink. Thanks for your efforts, Mr Armstrong. You were a big man in every sense and now you’re up there with the rest of the stars. Sleep well.



  1. So True Pie… and a very moving tribute.
    I too will give him a wink from now on whenever the moon reminds me…
    …R.I.P Mr Armstrong, you’ve travelled long, seen and done true wonders, and been an inspiration ….sleep well, for you now every night is one with a twinkle in it’s eye.

    • That’s a lovely tribute, Kiwi. He should rest easy now, knowing he’s had such a profound, positive effect on this world.

  2. I watched the landing on a TV set so old I had to put a blanket over it and me to see. The vacuum tubes were very weak. The contrast was poor. But there I was, up at about 2:30 in the AM, wiggling with anticipation. Bon voyage, and thanks for your article.

    • Thanks, Mikey. It’s good to be reminded that there are people out there doing great things, not just for themselves, but for everyone.

  3. It says so much about him that that was what the family requested as a tribute. It just feels like a humble sense of humor.

    • It certainly does, Oma.

      I remember there was a documentary about that space mission, which came out a fairly recently. It’s called In The Shadow Of The Moon and apparently it’s really good. I’m going to try and find it.

  4. I hope he was able to see “In the Shadow of the Moon.”

    I remember sitting with my sister and mother watching him walk on the moon and being so excited. It was almost unbelievable that someone was walking on the moon!

    This was a very nice tribute, Pie, to a great man.

    • Thanks, Jacki. Although he had a great impact on the world, he really would’ve resonated with Americans because he was one of their own. So it’s no surprise to find you were so excited. I hope he saw In The Shadow Of The Moon too. I’m sure he would’ve liked it.

  5. We’re just a few days from a blue moon, a perfect opportunity to honor the family’s wishes.

    • A blue moon? Seriously? I really hope it comes by my window and the sky is clear. When the moonlight streams into the kitchen at around midnight, it’s magnificent. There’s nothing better.

      I’m practising my wink right now.

      • Agreed — I just love the full moon, especially when it’s low on the horizon. I’m going moonlight kayaking. I’ll wink back and then we’ll have Mr. Armstrong covered from both sides of The Pond.

  6. A good tribute Pie. I think what made Armstrong so extraordinary, was his ordinary-ness. There was no fling with celebrity, no drunken-downfall and attempt at later redemption, no reality shows, no garbage. He worked at NASA, and then went home to Ohio and was an Engineering professor (imagine taking a class from him!) He was all substance with very little flash, which set
    him apart in our world today.

    • If he had done what he did, at the age that he did, in this world today, he wouldn’t have survived. The current obsession with celebrities and the minutiae of their lives, means he probably wouldn’t have been allowed to live quietly. However, some famous people, in spite of this, manage to stay just under the radar and live a life unmolested. Maybe he would’ve been one of them.

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