Share Memories of Astronaut Neil Armstrong

Where were you when he took those historic first steps? And what's the future for space exploration?

Man’s first steps on the moon. If you were alive then, you remember that riveting moment.

It was a patriotic moment for sure. We had beaten the Soviets first to the moon.

Our flag firmly planted in the moon’s sandy soil.

But it also represented the best of the human race. Having explored our planet, we weren’t satisfied in knowing what we knew. Not when there was a whole, big universe out there.

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

At 82 years old, Neil Armstrong has died. According to the New York Times, he died following some cardiovascular procedures. He lived in Cincinnati. 

Has the dream of space exploration died with it? President Obama is proposing a NASA budget 20 percent smaller for 2013. NASA, however, still has its sights on Mars.

Tell us in the comments your memories of the Apollo 11 astronaut’s historic landing. And where should we go in the future?

Pete August 25, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Godspeed Commander N.Armstrong ... A True Hero when America was Strong, Respected and made in the USA ... RIP Neil. You are number 1 on the runway !!!
tinytom August 25, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Immortality 'Fore the grave dost fear thou? Thou wishest, to live on immortal? Live i' th' whole! And when thou long art foreby, it endures.
Martin Henderson (Editor) August 25, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I was at my cousins' housing complex and we were playing baseball outside in the big common area, and then went inside to watch on TV. There were probably 8-10 of us gathered around the set. As I recall, there was a real sense of danger, didn't know what would happen once he finally stepped on the moon. Might blow up, might freeze, might melt, might be swallowed up -- I was in second grade at the time. Those guys were heroes in every sense of the word.
Charles August 26, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I vividly remember the those first steps. I had just turned eight a week earlier and we were living in Canoga Park. Funny how I remember wearing a navy blue bathing suit on that warm summer evening watching the event on a teal and white TV set in the northwest corner of our living room. Some of our neighbors worked at Rocketdyne, the maker of the might F-1 engines, five of which lifted the Saturn V rocket to the moon. Ironically, I remember something I read about Neil Armstrong in a book. He had said he never really exercised too much because he (probably half seriously) believed his heart only had a certain number of beats in it.
Nancy Wride (Editor) August 26, 2012 at 05:44 AM
It is one of my earliest memories. My Dad and I were night owls, both of us the only ones in the family awake as the moon peaked. He took me outside to gaze up and tell me of the historical walk on the moon. It was the first time I saw my Dad so filled with giddy wonder, and it was contagious. I told him that yes, I thought I saw the astronauts up on the moon, and he said no, they were clouds drifting by, but I should wave to the moon, just in case. So the last line in Neil Armstrong's family announcement today was classy and full circle for me: For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
Adam Townsend August 26, 2012 at 04:46 PM
You don't mess with Neil Armstrong. He's a serious dude. Rest in peace, brother.
James Schumaker August 26, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I was taking summer courses at Trinity College (Harford, Connecticut). A bunch of us clustered around an old black and white TV and watched the Moon landing live. It was the most thrilling event of the 1960's, and perhaps our greatest technological achievement as a nation. In those days, despite the fact that I was about to be drafted into the Army and was worried about going to Vietnam, I had a strong faith in the destiny of our country and was filled with optimism. In large part, it came from Neil Armstrong's walk on the Moon. I think it is ironic that it has been forty years since anyone has returned to the Moon. That says it all about the sorry state of our manned space exploration program. Neil Armstrong was a strong critic of our current program, and he was completely correct. Now his voice is silent, but we will remember what he said, and what he achieved, for many years to come.
Karen Devine August 26, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Imagine the courage it must have taken to leave the safety of this earth to explore the unknown realm of the moon! Mr. Armstrong was an incredible man. My prayers are with his family.
Charles August 26, 2012 at 09:52 PM
I still find it hard to believe it was done. Today, when it takes three days to get someone to change your office toner and with the ease we can run complicated models in Excel on our desks - and all they had were slide rules and punch cards in the 1960s - it is mind boggling the US got astronauts to the moon in eight years. And they got there five out of six times successfully. Not because it was easy, but because it was hod. Today it takes a dozen years to simply get a space station operational. Couple of great books I've read: "Flight" about Christopher Kraft, the mentor of Gene Kranz, "Failure is Not an Option", about Gene Kranz, and "Angle of Attack" about the Apollo efforts specifically here in Southern California - centered around North American Aviation and the disruption of the Apollo program following the Apollo 1 fire.
Diane Askew August 26, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Huddling around the television with friends, my sister and I felt a tremendous thrill at seeing our men on the moon. We both worked for aerospace companies -- McDonnell Douglas and North American Rockwell -- as secretaries, and we felt we had contributed as much as anyone to that space walk. All of the people we knew who worked on the space program felt that way, from the presidents of the companies involved to the janitors It was such a romantic time. The great minds of our time all came together with the nation behind them to meet the challenge from John Kennedy. Many people were critical of the money spent on the space program, but it took a dream like that to inspire everyone to do their best toward one common goal: put a man on the moon. As a result of the research and development that was required to reach that goal, we now have computers, cell phones, communication available around the world, medical instruments that have saved many lives, and even daily things like teflon and insulin pumps for diabetics, just to name a few. Money invested in dreams for the future are the building blocks for solutions to many of our earthly problems. Neil Armstrong was a true American hero, as were the other men in that spaceship. Talk about pioneers. How lucky we are as a nation to have had him.
Janet Whitcomb August 26, 2012 at 10:20 PM
I think everyone was on pins and needles the entire day. It was a relief to know Armstrong and Aldrin had landed. But then the second stage of anxiety began. When Armstrong left the capsule and said his famous words, the sense of relief was palpable throughout the nation . . . perhaps the world. Still, I don't believe anyone felt 100% secure until all three men were retrieved after splashdown and, once a period of quarantine was over, allowed to become (if you'll excuse my Warner Bros. cartoon jargon) earthlings again. About a minute after Armstrong stepped out onto the moon, I went outside and stared up at it in wonderment. It was a warm night and the universe seemed especially accessible. I remember feeling only slightly jealous of those at Disneyland, who had the opportunity to watch the whole thing on a large screen set up in Tomorrowland. Some time later I remember my mom reading a magazine and quoting the quote Charles mentions. She seemed to think it a justification for not exercising! But obviously Armstrong had to have been in tip-top shape to do all that he did.
Nancy Wride (Editor) August 27, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Is this the Janet who used to write for the Press Telegram or in Long Beach?
Matt Gaffney August 27, 2012 at 05:55 PM
I was washing dishes at the Colony Kitchen with Tommy Littman. We kept ducking into the Crest Room, that's where the TV was. I remember standing there looking down the bar & seeing Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Margie Oehlert, Paul's Mom, was standing in front of me. A never to be forgotten experience.


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