Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Little kid me wanted to be him … watched him take that step live. In many ways he was still the most famous man in the world.


“The Great Beyond” as a tag has never been more appropriate than for him.

Strange, but my generation never revered him. We’re all “What, just the moon?”.

I’ve never held much truck with my generation. Endless skies, big guy, and for sure the road is always gonna rise to meet you.

Watching that live and hearing him say “One small step for man…” is one of the key memories of my childhood.

Our family watched the launch, landing, and splash down on a black and white analog television.

@Tommmcatt May Just Have Some MJ In His System As Well, So What?: He all but disappeared from public view after he returned, so there’s not much to remember him by. He also wasn’t one of the Gemini astronauts — much less a Gemini astronaut turned Senator — so he didn’t have a public reputation prior to the landing.

Beyond that, you’d still have to be much older than Bloggie and me to really appreciate the moment. If you were ten at the time, you didn’t have much to compare it to.

@texrednface: Somewhere at the Ancestral Home is a slide I took of the TV screen. So you get low-rez Moon transmission plus scan lines.

Actually he was. Command pilot of Gemini 8. I think you’re thinking about the Mercury 7.

The reason why he disappeared off the radar was that he hated the publicity and everything that went with it from what I read. There was an interview of him in 2002 with Stephen Ambrose that was more about Stephen Ambrose…

@ManchuCandidate: Ah. Right. I have no recollection whatsoever of Mercury/Gemini. That’s what being ten in 1969 amounted to.

I was a big space nerd. Annoyed friends and family constantly when I chatted about space. I once knew every space mission since Yuri Gargarin/Vostok 1 to the early shuttle flights. Not so much anymore.

@nojo: I can’t remember if we watched John Glenn’s Mercury launch. I do remember listening to radio reports (tube radio) as he orbited the Earth. I remember being feeling very scared. I was six.

@ManchuCandidate: We didn’t have CBS in Eugene at the time, so I don’t even have Uncle Walter narrating my memories. Instead, it was John Chancellor, Frank McGee, and a big Gulf logo squatting on the desk between them.

@texrednface: Everything I know about the pre-Apollo program I learned from The Right Stuff.

@nojo: I mention the analog tv and radio tubes because I wonder if the the experience and drama would have been as intense if it had been in HD.

@Serolf Divad: I’m posting that in an hour if you don’t.

@texrednface: Certainly the Arizona landscape would have been easier to make out.

@nojo: One of those movies that, if it’s on and I find it, I have to watch it.

@blogenfreude: I really liked the book — especially the opening description about what “burned beyond recognition” amounts to — but no opinion about the movie.

Maybe now I would think Tom Wolfe was being too precious in his writing, but at the time, I ate it up. And then he gave me reason never to pay attention to him again.

Neil Armstrong is the reason you see U-Haul trucks with a scene from Wapakoneta, Ohio painted on the side.

The moon landing, with the whole world watching with bated breath? That, my friends, was the last true example of American Exceptionalism.

That may have been the year I got a Major Matt Mason moonbase set for Christmas. In a precocious example of mashups, I infested it with Creepy Crawlers.

@nojo: you’d still have to be much older than Bloggie and me to really appreciate the moment. If you were ten at the time, you didn’t have much to compare it to.

I think I remember it so well because it was the first time I’d seen a “Special Report” with Walter Cronkite that was good news. In 1968, it meant someone had been assassinated, or there were riots somewhere. To be fair, we didn’t know it would be good news. It could have ended with William Safire ripping off Rupert Brooke.

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