Neil Armstrong, First Man to Walk on the Moon, Dies

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Apollo 11 Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon's surface, died Saturday, in Columbus, Ohio, after experiencing complications from cardiovascular surgery. He was 82.

Armstrong, whose spoke these historic words, “That’s One Small Step for Man; One Giant Leap for Mankind,” as he stepped from the Apollo 11 ladder onto the Moon’s surface, energized both a nation reeling from internal turmoil and the fledging space program. Accompanying Armstrong on that July 1969 Space mission were Lunar Module pilot Eugene Buzz Aldrin Jr. and Command Module pilot Michael Collins both of whom have expressed their sorrow at the passing of a dear friend and esteemed colleague.

A native Ohioan Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, the son of Stephen and Viola Armstrong. Before he entered Blume High School his family had moved to nearly twenty different towns. He developed a passion for flying, as a toddler, after his dad took him to the Cleveland Air Races. By the age of six, he had his first flight experience in a Ford Trimoter or the “Tin Goose.”  By 15, before he had his Driver’s license, he had earned his flight certificate.

His roots in American culture, before computers and individualism, had him deeply involved in the Boy Scouts program where he eventually earned the highest rank of Eagle Scout. He sent out a special message to the Boy Scouts during his historic Apollo 11 Mission that was broadcasted around the world.

A pioneer of the manned space flight program, after flying 78 missions in Korea, Armstrong was a test pilot and began testing early supersonic planes. He tested with the greats including Charles ‘Chuck” Yeager. Armstrong was selected to be part of the Man in Space Soonest Program.  After completing the program a second general call was announced for NASA astronauts.  Armstrong initially missed the deadline filing date for the Space program, but a former colleague whom he had worked with at Edwards Air Force base, saw the application and added his to the pile of possible contenders before anyone noticed.  

Armstrong long known as one the world’s great explorers was not without personal tragedy. Armstrong was married to his first wife, Janet, for thirty-eight years. She divorced him in 1992. They had three children. His daughter, Karen Anne was three years old when she died from a brain tumor. He is survived by two other children, Eric and Mark. He met his second wife, Carol Held Knight, at a Golf tournament breakfast event. The two married in 1994.

Neil Armstrong underwent surgery on August 7, 2012 for block arteries. He passed away August 25th in Columbus, Ohio from complications.

For more on Neil Armstrong: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Armstrong

NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, has added a Neil Armstrong memorial to their homepage www.nasa.gov .

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