A Tribute to Neil Armstrong – A True Hometown Hero
It was the biggest adventure of my young life. I left the Midwest to study art history in Europe…yes, how exciting was it to be a student in another country looking at art that I had only seen previously in textbooks. I could write many blog posts about that trip, but this one is about something that happened to me while I was staying at a tiny pensione outside of Rome on a steamy July day in 1969.
Believe me, this place was spare, sparse and run by nuns. But, there was a tiny…and I mean tiny, television in the lounge and on July 20th, all of the American students gathered around it. We watched as Apollo 11 landed on the moon…but the announcement was in Italian, we didn’t understand a word…we got the fact that the US had landed, but that was all. When I returned home I finally heard the words that Neil Armstrong had said on that historic occasion…”One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Such a simple, poetic statement.
He lived up the road from where I was born in Ohio. A man of values and courage from Wapakoneta. He stayed that way all of his life…unlike so many, he choose to remain humble and unaffected by fame. He taught at the University of Cincinnati where I went to college, and he lived in my community…all the time, remaining true to who he was. A real hometown hero.
On the news, the family said that if anyone wanted to know what to do to honor Neil’s memory, they should push boundaries and commit to causes greater than themselves. I thought that was worthy of sharing with you and your family and friends today. That’s a goal for us all, isn’t it?
Also, his family said the best way to honor his memory is “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,”.
OK Neil, I’ll be winking…I’m sure you’ll be smiling.