One year ago (and two days), the family of Neil Armstrong announced that this navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut passed away at the age of 82. Making known that Armstrong was a “reluctant American hero”, his family said that he “always believed he was just doing his job.” Neil Armstrong became the first human being to step foot on the moon on July 20th, 1969, followed 20 minutes afterward by his crewmate Buzz Aldrin. MAKE SURE you have a look at the update at the end of this article – Armstrong didn’t die twice!
The third member of that Moon mission, Michael Collins, had words to share this week along with Buzz Aldrin on the passing of their Apollo 11 crewmate. Saying simply “he was the best”, Collins continued, “I will miss him terribly.” Meanwhile Aldrin provided a statement speaking on the heroic nature of Armstrong and his work.
“Neil and I trained together as technical partners but were also good friends who will always be connected through our participation in the mission of Apollo 11. Virtually the entire world took that memorable journey with us. I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew.” – Buzz Aldrin
President of the United States Barack Obama also had a statement to share early today as news was shared:
“Neil was among the greatest of American heroes — not just of his time, but of all time. [Armstrong and his crewmates] set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable — that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible.” – President Obama
Neil Armstrong was also one of the first human beings to orbit the Earth – one of the two first American civilians to orbit the Earth, that is, with David R Scott as his crewmate aboard the two-man ship on mission Gemini VIII. It was only a matter of time then before Armstrong was chosen to be part of a series of Moon missions, happening to be part of the crew that was picked to land.
NASA remembered the one year anniversary with the song “Tranquility Base” by Eric Brace:
Armstrong passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures after heart surgery performed several weeks previous. He was (and is) survived not only by his immediate family, but joined in mourning by the whole world – the world that watched as he lead us as a human race to another heavenly body in space for the first time.
“There are great ideas undiscovered, breakthroughs available to those who can remove one of truth’s protective layers. There are places to go beyond belief.” – Neil Armstrong
UPDATE: As you may have noticed, this post is one of many blurbs today that made the mistake of publishing without recognizing the obviousness of the truth: Neil Armstrong didn’t die this week – he died a year ago this week. This mistake was made starting in twitter – where rememberances today are running rampant – and in the mobile edition of ABC news which, if you’ll have a look, republished a story from the 25th of August 2012 just today.
As the author of this story I personally take responsibility for this absurd goof. Now it’s time to mark the first ever accidental death hoax after the fact – keep it on your calendar!
UPDATE: ABC’s original article has been updated with the following note:
Editor’s Note: This article was written and published on Aug. 25, 2012, the day Neil Armstrong died, and was updated this week with a new video to commemorate the anniversary of Armstrong’s death. This update changed the time stamp on our mobile site, causing some to share the story on social media thinking we had published news of Armstrong’s death today. We regret the confusion caused by the updated time stamp.
IMAGE VIA: ABC News