The Jerusalem Post on the passing of Neil Armstrong (Aug. 24) — Whether you were a wide-eyed five-year-old, a self-absorbed teenager or world-wise adult, you’ll likely never forget the moment. On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong climbed down the ladder outside the lunar module, and with a little jump, became the first person to set foot on the moon.
Some 600 million people — a fifth of the world’s population — watched or listened to the moon landing, the largest audience for any single event in history. In a fast-forward world ... amid the turmoil of Vietnam War protests and civil rights strife, and less than a month before the American counterculture peaked with a display of mass humanity at Woodstock, Armstrong and his crew — Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins — gave everyone pause.
The majesty, grandeur and awe of such an otherworldly event taking place in our lifetime immediately placed Armstrong in the annals of history. ...
Armstrong never understood why so much attention was given to that first fateful footstep. Asked once how he felt knowing his footprints would likely stay on the moon’s surface for thousands of years, he answered, “I kind of hope that somebody goes up there one of these days and cleans them up.” ...
Describing his impressions, Armstrong said, “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”
That dichotomy — man’s ability to use knowledge and technology to achieve unbelievable accomplishments while at the same time realizing that we really still don’t know very much about anything - may be the ultimate lesson that Armstrong leaves us with. That, and the need to dream. ...º
The Vindicator, Youngstown, Ohio, on Neil Armstrong (Aug. 27) — It is difficult to separate the man from the mission.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, is dead. But what he did and the familiar words he spoke remain embedded in the minds of those who witnessed his small step and giant leap on July 20, 1969.
They will remain engraved in history for as long as there is recorded history.
Armstrong, who died at 82 of complications from heart surgery, didn’t seek fame, and for decades he actively avoided it, living quietly in southwestern Ohio, where he died Aug. 25. But he couldn’t avoid being famous, because he earned it. In a day when vacuous people are famous (and become rich) for simply being famous, Armstrong represented the best of a more authentic age. ...
Armstrong well knew that he did not get to the moon and back on his own. But what he never said is something that the rest of us sensed: He wasn’t the only man who could have succeeded, but was a member of a select few. He succeeded because he was smart, coordinated, dedicated, educated and cool under pressure. He was all those things in measures that most of us could only dream about or, well, envy.