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

We all remember these first fine words spoken by Neil Armstrong as he was the first person to leave a foot’s impression on the dusty surface of the moon.
It was a sad moment in the hearts of not only Americans, but worldwide, to hear of his passing on Saturday, August 25, 2012 at age 82. He had bypass surgery and was recovering well, but died due to “complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures,” according to his family.
We value him as a hero, named a moon’s crater after him, but surprisingly, Armstrong always avoided the media spotlight. He considered himself just doing his job and was “chosen under the circumstance to lead Apollo 11.”
After escaping death twice: first on Gemini VIII with co-pilot David Scott, and second when he served as U.S. Navy pilot, flying 78 combat missions during the Korean War, he was chosen to hold the position of commander to lead Apollo 11 on the mission to land the first man on the moon.
The United States of the 1960s was torn between the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War. Nonetheless, JFK achieved his goal of “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth” at 10:56 p.m. ET on July 20, 1969, with Neil Armstrong, at age 38.
After spending 2 hours and 19 minutes on the moon collecting samples, Armstrong, Edwin (Buzz) E. Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins landed in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969 to be welcomed in the arms of fans.
Later, Armstrong talked about how he was treated differently by his coworkers once he landed back on Earth. He wanted to be treated like an ordinary man, so let us take a moment to remember him in that manner.
Following Apollo 11, Armstrong resigned from NASA in 1971 to become a professor of aeronautical engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
After Armstrong’s death, his family said: “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.”
We should learn from this statement. Armstrong almost died twice, but he survived. He didn’t become prideful in his achievements and chose being a professor over a celebrity.
Dr. James Hansen of Auburn University, author of “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong,” said, “Everyone gives Neil the greatest credit for not trying to take advantage of his fame, not like other astronauts have done.”
Janet Armstrong, Neil’s first wife, responded, “Yes, but look what it’s done to him inside. He feels guilty that he got all the acclaim for an effort of tens of thousands of people.”
So even when we accomplish something, we shouldn’t let our pride lead us to believe we are superior to others. We are all equal regardless of our differences. We should honor and thank Armstrong for his contributions to the realm of science.

Bindiya Ganatra is an English and biology senior from Mathiston.