When Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the Moon, died yesterday, I remembered being a nine-year-old boy in a primary school hall. The whole school was assembled to watch a small black-and-white television that had been perched on the stage for us all to watch recorded footage of the momentous event.
After Apollo 11, Armstrong was famously reclusive. Not for him the celebrity circuit. In one of his rarer excursions into public, he sued a barber for selling some of his hair.
And so it was fitting to read the Armstrong family statement. Their idea about how to remember the great man seems so fitting:
“For those who may ask what they can do to honour Neil, we have a simple request. Honour 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.”
O that others would seek a similar remembrance. ‘Honour his example of service, accomplishment and modesty’ indeed.
I have a memory of watching Armstrong also. It seemed incredible that this was possible! His family’s statement is one of humility and Neil will be remembered for his extraordinary courage.
Final two stanzas of “The Sky” by Geoff Page
Some people like to feel the soil
dissolve between their fingers,
the flowers it might,
with care, supply.
My balcony’s low maintenance,
I cultivate the sky.
‘I cultivate the sky’ – love it!