Neil Armstrong passes away at 82

posted at 4:45 pm on August 25, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

An American hero and icon has left us today.  Neil Armstrong, who with his partners Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on Apollo XI redefined the meaning of the word “explorer” and extended our reach to the Moon, passed away at age 82:

Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 astronaut who became the first human being to set foot on another world, has died. He was 82.

In a statement his family said Armstrong had passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.

The family described him as a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, and also as “a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job.”

CBS has a longer video from a 60 Minutes profile from several years ago, which I’d recommend.  Armstrong’s humility and calm comes through very clearly in his interview with Ed Bradley.  CBS also gets the famous first words from man on the Moon correct: “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”  Armstrong said later that the (a) got swallowed up by the transmission, and that the statement was one that underplayed his individual role in the moment while noting the monumental leap it meant for the whole human race.

Many American children grew up idolizing Armstrong, Aldrin, and all of the other astronauts who risked their lives — some of whom paid the ultimate price — in order to push our boundaries into the cosmos.  My father worked in the space program for almost 30 years, including the Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle phases, and so perhaps even more than some, I thought of these men as giants.  We had the most well-known of them for a very long time, a blessing that perhaps we’ll only appreciate in retrospect.

Godspeed, Mr. Armstrong.  An entire world thanks you for your courage and accomplishment.

Update: A commenter scolded me for not mentioning Michael Collins, who flew the command module that allowed Armstrong and Aldrin to go to the moon’s surface and back safely. A point well taken, and I’ve edited the first paragraph.

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From Mitt Romney’s Twitter:

Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes. The moon will miss its first son of earth.

Nice.

Rational Thought on August 25, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Ed, this music seems appropriate.

SDN on August 25, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Mr. Armstrong, you took the ultimate first step. Godspeed. Thank you for your courage. I stayed up all night to watch your real and true accomplishment.

Mommynator on August 25, 2012 at 7:35 PM

I grew up less than a mile from the Johnson Spacecraft Center in Clear Lake and went to school with the children of a number of astronauts. The kids of Irwin, Scott, and Schweikart are the ones I remember best.

These people did something incredible and monumental. I doubt future generations will feel as much pride in NASAs current efforts to make Muslims feel better about themselves.

kbTexan on August 25, 2012 at 7:47 PM

A good man that will be missed.

Maybe we can ask Obama to ask the Russians or Chinese to take his ashes back to space for us.

LarryinLA on August 25, 2012 at 4:56 PM

More appropriate

NOMOBO on August 25, 2012 at 7:52 PM

I’d be asking Elon Musk to take Neil up when Spacex docks with the ISS in October.

Ozwitch on August 25, 2012 at 7:56 PM

This hit me a lot harder than I would have thought. Fight On Mr. Armstrong, Distinguished Eagle Scout and the First Trojan on the moon.

Fighton03 on August 25, 2012 at 7:56 PM

I never posted YouTube links, but let this be the tribute. Rest in peace, Mr. Armstrong.

Archivarix on August 25, 2012 at 7:57 PM

RIP Mr. Armstrong.

A true American Hero and a true pioneer.

Tim_CA on August 25, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Neil Armstrong visited the Qantas A380 simulator a few months ago to do a session. The sim instructor said he was the most humble and pleasant guest who actually didn’t want to talk about Apollo as he’d answered everything there was to be asked. What lit up his eyes was the X-15, upon which he could talk for hours. He was a true test pilot, and a delightful human being.

Ozwitch on August 25, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Godspeed..

And I feel old.

A truly amazing time to live in.

wolly4321 on August 25, 2012 at 8:00 PM

..one small step for mankind.

Now, one of our heroes who helped to unlock so many mysteries of space travel and our neighboring moon is, himself, privy to God’s innermost secrets.

God bless you and keep you in his arms, sir! You and your brethren made us proud!

The War Planner on August 25, 2012 at 8:06 PM

wolly4321 on August 25, 2012 at 8:00 PM

second…..

Fighton03 on August 25, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Ed, this music seems appropriate.

SDN on August 25, 2012 at 7:33 PM

That is awesome!! Brought me to tears…

vamp57mw on August 25, 2012 at 8:16 PM

I got to hear him speak at a conference a few years ago. He was an extremely humble man.

Think about that for a minute . . .

He was one of the most famous people of our lifetime.

He was an accomplished pilot, brilliant engineer and as for courage – if you ever have a chance to go to one of our Space Museums in Washington, D.C. or Huntsville, Alabama or the Kennedy Space Center, be sure to spend five minutes looking at the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space capsules.

You should come away stunned by how small and frail these craft were … and the courage of the men who climbed into them to go into “outer space”.

Neil Armstrong always spoke of the TEAM of people who achieved the impossible by putting a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. He included in that TEAM, everyone who worked on ALL aspects of our space program. He felt that all of those people deserved recognition as much as he did.

Hearing him express these feelings, you came away knowing it was how he felt down to the core of his soul. We truly could not have had a better representative of America to be the first person to step foot on the moon.

I was a child of the space age. My father worked on the X-15 engine, the Titan II missile, the Titan II missile base outside Little Rock, and the Surveyor Moon Landing Craft. We listened to the launches in school. We all stayed up to watch Neil Armstrong be the first person to step foot on the Moon.

He was an extremely humble man.

And, he was for me, a hero who deserved the accolade all the more for his humility.

Godspeed, Neil Armstrong. Godspeed.

PolAgnostic on August 25, 2012 at 8:36 PM

He was an extremely humble man.

And, he was for me, a hero who deserved the accolade all the more for his humility.

Godspeed, Neil Armstrong. Godspeed.

PolAgnostic on August 25, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Amen!

vamp57mw on August 25, 2012 at 8:41 PM

PolAgnostic on August 25, 2012 at 8:36 PM

someday, men of his ilk will walk the face of the earth again….and maybe Mars.

Fighton03 on August 25, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Great American, with many accomplishments.
.
BUT . . . ever since reading Chuck Yeager’s first biography “YEAGER” (a good book, BTW), the name ‘Smith Ranch Dry Lake’ is the first thing I think of when I hear the name Neil Armstrong.

No, I’m not insulting him. He’s a far better man than I am.
But great men sometimes do bull-headed things, and this was as humorous as it gets.
I’m not giving away any more. Read it here.

listens2glenn on August 25, 2012 at 8:42 PM

A truly amazing time to live in.

wolly4321 on August 25, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Yep.

BallisticBob on August 25, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Such a modest man who accomplished the once unthinkable with grace and humility. Contrast that with much less accomplished publicity hounds today who must tweet every vacuous thought, show every part of their body, and espouse their idiotic thoughts endlessly on the internet, reality shows, and morning news programs. Mr. Armstrong did something so lasting and profound his “15 minutes of fame”. Beside my dad, Mr. Armstrong was indeed a childhood hero.

stop2think on August 25, 2012 at 8:47 PM

“Oh I Have Slipped
The Surly Bonds of Earth…
Put Out My Hand
And Touched the Face of God ”

RIP Shipmate

NavyMustang on August 25, 2012 at 4:50 PM

The best last lines of a great poem for a one of the greatest Americans.

I was between my junior and senior yrs of HS, and my friend’s grandfather remembered hearing about the first powered flight when he was 10 and there he was watching Armstrong/Aldrin/Collins on a trip to the moon. One lifetime; from a flight off the Earth to a flight from the Earth!!
I fear we have lost our exploring spirit.

From one Buckeye Stater to another; Godspeed Commander Armstrong

PaulK on August 25, 2012 at 8:47 PM

listens2glenn on August 25, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Bullheaded things are what make men heroes. You don’t think that experience came in handy while dropping the LM on Mare Tranquillitatis?

Fighton03 on August 25, 2012 at 9:00 PM

..one small step for mankind.

Now, one of our heroes who helped to unlock so many mysteries of space travel and our neighboring moon is, himself, privy to God’s innermost secrets.

God bless you and keep you in his arms, sir! You and your brethren made us proud!

The War Planner on August 25, 2012 at 8:06 PM

A beautiful tribute among many here. Thanks, TWP.

Godspeed, Commander Armstrong. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let the Perpetual Light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.

I will never forget the thrill I felt as an 11-year old girl watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. I still have the newspapers from that day that my mom made a point to save.

A true hero for the ages.

PatriotGal2257 on August 25, 2012 at 9:10 PM

R.I.P. Neil Armstrong

xplodeit on August 25, 2012 at 9:14 PM

I still vividly remember watching this live on TV, July 20, 1969, 11 years old. Was is, and will always be a real America Hero. RIP

skanter on August 25, 2012 at 9:18 PM

No, I’m not insulting him. He’s a far better man than I am.
But great men sometimes do bull-headed things, and this was as humorous as it gets.
I’m not giving away any more. Read it here.

listens2glenn on August 25, 2012 at 8:42 PM

.
Michael Collins wrote n excellent book called “Carrying the Fire”.

He does an excellent job of explaining the “test pilot” mentality. You will end up shaking your head over the stories he tells and hopefully saddened a little by how callously we expended the lives of these men.

Chuck Yeager is another hero of mine. Chuck Yeager commenting on “bullheadedness” is THE pot calling the kettle black. Look no further than the day he broke the sound barrier for the first time for proof of that statement.

After Yeager broke the sound barrier, he WAS the measuring stick the other test pilots tried to emulate even after the space program got started. Yeager has always had a blind spot with regard to putting himself in perspective – just as we all do. The difference is, he cannot see his characteristics in an objective light when other men try to emulate him.

If YOU had the God of test pilots in your back seat and you are trying to be the next HIM … do you try to land or meekly take his guidance?

Of the two, I am very happy I went out of my way to meet Neil Armstrong. He was an exceptional American.

PolAgnostic on August 25, 2012 at 9:32 PM

A genuine American hero has passed away.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,
And let Perpetual Light shine upon him.
May his Soul
And the Souls of all the faithful departed
Through the Mercy of God
Rest in Peace.
Amen

Zorro on August 25, 2012 at 9:44 PM

The Green Hills of Earth

Let the sweet fresh breezes heal me
As they rove around the girth
Of our lovely mother planet
Of the cool, green hills of Earth.

The harsh bright soil of Luna,
Airless, grey and dead
Bears unsympathetic witness
To Mankind’s ascending Tread

We’ve tried each spinning space mote
And reckoned its true worth:
Take us back again to the homes of men
On the cool, green hills of Earth.

The arching sky is calling
Spacemen back to their trade.
ALL HANDS! STAND BY! FREE FALLING!
And the lights below us fade.

Out ride the sons of Terra,
Far drives the thundering jet,
Up leaps a race of Earthmen,
Out, far, and onward yet —

We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the fleecy skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.

– Robert A Heinlein

Bulletchaser on August 25, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Obama Tweet: A typical White man goes a long way, but he didn’t do that.

Bulletchaser on August 25, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Rest In Peace

Dollayo on August 25, 2012 at 10:06 PM

Now, one of our heroes who helped to unlock so many mysteries of space travel and our neighboring moon is, himself, privy to God’s innermost secrets.

God bless you and keep you in his arms, sir! You and your brethren made us proud!

The War Planner on August 25, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Yep, no longer bound by the physics of our universe.

God speed, Neil Armstrong.

hawkdriver on August 25, 2012 at 10:28 PM

OUT: Columbus Day

IN: Neil Armstrong Day

rickyricardo on August 25, 2012 at 10:34 PM

PolAgnostic on August 25, 2012 at 9:32 PM

To my shame, I would have taken his advice. This is why I won’t walk on the surface of another planet.

Fighton03 on August 25, 2012 at 10:40 PM

listens2glenn on August 25, 2012 at 8:42 PM
.

Bullheaded things are what make men heroes. You don’t think that experience came in handy while dropping the LM on Mare Tranquillitatis?

Fighton03 on August 25, 2012 at 9:00 PM

.

Chuck Yeager is another hero of mine. Chuck Yeager commenting on “bullheadedness” is THE pot calling the kettle black. Look no further than the day he broke the sound barrier for the first time for proof of that statement.

Of the two, I am very happy I went out of my way to meet Neil Armstrong. He was an exceptional American.

PolAgnostic on August 25, 2012 at 9:32 PM

.
You’re both of course, exactly correct.

But that incident will, for whatever reason, be the first thing that comes to mind when I hear Neils name invoked.

The next thing I’ll remember about him, is the second statement he uttered on the moon. His first statement is the most famous words in the history of our space program, but his next statement (just two words) were drowned out by all of the cheering going on at Mission Control and the studios of our news agencies covering the event.

They were “It’s solid”, in reference to the surface of the moon.
During training, they had been taught to hold tight to the handrail as they took the last step off the ladder onto the Lunar surface, because of uncertainty over what the surface of the Moon would be like. The LM was fitted with “feet” that would allow the ship to float on water.
A deep layer of loose dust was planned for as a precaution, and we didn’t want our astronauts to be “swallowed up” by it.

But those next two words from Neil alleviated that fear.

listens2glenn on August 25, 2012 at 10:47 PM

listens2glenn on August 25, 2012 at 10:47 PM

LOL!!! You do see the parallel to the story right?

Fighton03 on August 25, 2012 at 10:54 PM

What a beautiful poem, Bulletchaser! Thanks for sharing!

Rosmerta on August 25, 2012 at 11:05 PM

listens2glenn on August 25, 2012 at 10:47 PM

From a story by the same title, and the character Rhysling now has a crater on the moon.

Fighton03 on August 25, 2012 at 11:15 PM

I still vividly remember watching this live on TV, July 20, 1969, 11 years old. Was is, and will always be a real America Hero. RIP

skanter on August 25, 2012 at 9:18 PM

I was 10 and playing outside… My Dad called at me down the street and told me to get inside the house so I could watch it live with him on TV…

Thanks Dad and Godspeed Neil Armstrong…

Khun Joe on August 25, 2012 at 11:27 PM

A good man that will be missed.

Maybe we can ask the Russians or Chinese to take his ashes back to space for us.

LarryinLA on August 25, 2012 at 4:56 PM

It is bad enough that we used a sovietesk government agency, to make the greatest engineering accomplishment of the 20th century; we could have achieved so much more for the money had we simply put up a cost plus fixed sum financial reward for the people who achieved our goals. Ignoring that the USofA now has an real American type space program, private industry, is high jackassery. If he and his family wish to put his mortal remains into space let us do it in an American manner; hire SpaceX to place his remains on their final trajectory.

My junior high was named after an Apollo 1 astronaut (Gus Grissom) so I am familiar with the price we paid in blood to get to the moon.

Godspeed.

TheLastBrainLeft on August 25, 2012 at 5:36 PM

It is disrespectful to use a name the man clearly hated.

Slowburn on August 25, 2012 at 11:42 PM

I just went out and winked at the moon…

Godspeed, Commander Armstrong.

StarLady on August 26, 2012 at 12:42 AM

They were all exceptional men, the finest representation of mankind.

Michael Collins’ dad was a member of the Joint Chief of Staff, but broke with tradition to join the Air Force because he wished to fly.

Edwin Aldrin had a PhD in Astronautics and saved the space progam by showing how a person could successfully work in zero-gee conditions, doing 5 comfortable hours in a space suit while an hour was all the others could handle.

And Neil Armstrong was a pilot of the highest order, an X-15 pilot, and suited for the chair of the LEM when the role came. He saved the program when Gemini 8 was spinning out of control by firing the retro rockets to stabilize the craft.

As the Eagle was landing on the moon, the computer overloaded because they were moving too fast for the little 16k computer to calculate. Neil Armstrong took the stick, and with NO previous experience in 1/6-G piloting, safely landed the LEM. The first landing on the moon was by human hands and dead reckoning.

Rest in Peace, Commander Armstrong

itsspideyman on August 26, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Obama Tweet: A typical White man goes a long way, but he didn’t do that.

Bulletchaser on August 25, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Haters gonna hate, even on a thread paying tribute to Neil Armstrong.

What I like best about Neil Armstrong is that he never tried to cash in on his truly deserved fame. He remained a humble, modest man. Truly the stuff of heroes!

Here is a very cool look at the Apollo 11 landing from a different perspective!

chumpThreads on August 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Your last and final trip is your greatest, Mr. Armstrong.

May the blessings of the afterlife far exceed the glory you had on your earthly home.

oakland on August 26, 2012 at 3:18 PM

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