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Neil Armstrong: 1930-2012

08.25.12

America and the world have lost a true hero. Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. The largest television audience in history was riveted to the screen in 1969 to watch Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step onto the lunar surface.

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Armstrong has died of heart complications at the age of 82. Armstrong’s words “That is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” spoken on July 20, 1969, as he became the first person ever to step onto another planetary body, instantly became a part of history. (Note that this quote when used is usually stated without the “a” before man). People who witnessed it will never forget it.

Armstrong was a hero no doubt. But he never cashed in on his success. His modesty and quiet life showed the true measure of the man. He made few public appearances. He gave very few speeches or interviews. His resignation from the public square made his lunar walk something mankind achieved rather than something Neil Armstrong achieved. He elevated this walk to be the culmination of the work, not only of the thousands of engineers and scientists who directly worked on the mission, but of the nation and mankind.

Americans have always taken pride in NASA. Young boys and girls dream of becoming astronauts one day. We always looked forward to the next mission. The space program fed our national pride and competitive spirit. The space program was just another example of America’s exceptionalism. Therein lays the problem for Barack Obama, our President who does not believe in American exceptionalism. As a matter of fact his administration’s goal has been to lower America’s standing in the world.

President Obama’s promised to fundamentally change America. Sadly many of the voters did not know him well enough to know what that meant. As just one example, he told NASA administrator Charles Bolden that his highest priority should be “to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering.” The result of Obama’s new focus was the end of an era, the death of the space shuttle program.

NASA’s space shuttle fleet began setting records with its first launch on April 12, 1981 and continued to set high marks of achievement and endurance through 30 years of missions. Starting with Columbia and continuing with Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour, the spacecraft has carried people into orbit repeatedly, launched, recovered and repaired satellites, conducted cutting-edge research and built the largest structure in space, the International Space Station. The final space shuttle mission, STS-135, ended July 21, 2011 when Atlantis rolled to a stop at its home port, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Perhaps it was time for a new technology, and new type of “space craft” to allow us to go beyond the moon. But Obama has no desire to explore our universe. There is no succession plan. There are simply just plans to make Muslims feel good about their achievements in math and engineering, whatever that may be.

Perhaps the President’s feelings about Neil Armstrong and the space program can be summed up in a picture. In Obama’s remembrance of Neil Armstrong on his passing, he did not use a photo of the lunar walk or other photos of Armstrong. He used this as a photo opt for himself, the most arrogant and narcissistic President of all times.

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