August 25, 2012
Former U.S. astronaut, Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, has died at the age of 82, his family said today.
Armstrong underwent a heart-bypass surgery earlier this month, just two days after his birthday on August 5, to relieve blocked coronary arteries.
As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. As he stepped on the dusty surface, Armstrong said: “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Those words endure as one of the best known quotes in the English language.
Neil Alden Armstrong was 38 years old at the time and even though he had fulfilled one of mankind’s quests that had loomed for centuries and placed him at the pinnacle of human achievement, he did not revel in his accomplishment. He even seemed frustrated by the acclaim it brought.
“I guess we all like to be recognized not for one piece of fireworks but for the ledger of our daily work,” Armstrong said in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program in 2005.
He once was asked how he felt knowing his footprints would likely stay on the moon’s surface for thousands of years. “I kind of hope that somebody goes up there one of these days and cleans them up,” he said.
A VERY PRIVATE MAN