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As a lover and cheerleader of Science, the news about Neil Armstrong hit home this weekend.

I remember watching the series “From the Earth to the Moon” totally transfixed at the space program. How incredible that we, mankind, could travel to space! I wish I could go myself, to see the planet Earth as a small blue ball incased in blackness. It must be so exciting to get the news that you will be the next astronaut to into space. If I were smarter I would be an astronaut. As it is, I am not smart. I am no good at math, I never did too well in my science classes either. I did what I could to pass, but retaining information I found difficult.

Neil Armstrong is a hero to me. I’ve been reading about him since the news broke of his passing. Indeed, you can’t find a story about him without getting his life story since he passed. This is a good thing! It is important that we remember him as not just the first man on the moon, but as a father, husband and friend. His biggest achievement was not the end of his life, but the climax, perhaps.

I have been scouring the internet for any information on his funeral service. I finally discovered that little information has been released except that it will be a private service in Cincinnati. Cincinnati is only a five hour drive from my home. If I discover that a public service will be held, I intend to drop everything and go there to pay my respects. As it is, even if I discover the location of his service, I will honor his memory by giving his family privacy. Only if it is open to the public will I make the drive.

An Ohio Native, Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, OH only a two hour drive from my birth town of Canton. In 1930s, Neil became fascinated by airplanes and by 1950, he flew in 78 combat missions in the Korean War. After the war he became a test pilot. He flew the X-15 to 207,000 feet, 38-miles, and the edge of space.  He was later among the first civilian astronauts and made his first flight in 1966 on Gemini VIII. It almost ended in disaster, but Neil kept a cool head, used the back-up system and was able to make an emergency landing in the Pacific Ocean.

His historic lunar walk occurred on July 20, 1969.

Neil remained private, even after his historic flight. He left NASA and returned to his home state of Ohio where he taught engineering at the University of Cincinnati. He made rare public appearances, but was present at the 30th anniversary of his lunar landing where he made the following statement: “In my own view, the important achievement of Apollo was a demonstration that humanity is not forever chained to this planet, and our visions go rather further than that, and our opportunities are unlimited.”

Please give a moment of silence to the passing of one of mankind’s greatest heroes. He will never be forgotten and the words “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” will forever be engrained in the fabric of our history. Thank you, Neil for your service to our country and your service to the world!

 

A grateful cheerleader,

Terrii Wachala

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