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Remembering Neil Armstrong, the First Man on the Moon

so long and thanks for all the fish

99% of you have probably heard by now: Yesterday, Neil Armstrong died at the age of 82. He was the first person to ever step foot on the moon. He described himself as a “quiet, nerdy engineer,” and that he may have been, but we will remember him as that and so much more.

On July 20th, 1969, Armstrong set foot on the moon, uttered the legendary words “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind,” and became a part of human history forever.

On the experience, Armstrong once said:

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”

By now, a thousand sites and newspapers and magazines have already written about how amazing this human was, and is. So let’s look at some of our favorite things that we’ve read about him.

From President Obama:

Neil was among the greatest of American heroes–not just of his time, but of all time.  When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation.  They 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. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.

Today, Neil’s spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown–including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure–sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step.

And Buzz Aldrin:

“Even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone. 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.”

Space historian Roger Launius, of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.:

“He had nerves of steel. If anyone ever had the ‘Right Stuff’, it was Neil Armstrong. But he was a dignified, quiet man. He could have had the world at his feet but he went back to teaching, that was what was important to him.”

Jon Logsdon, author of John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon:

“He wasn’t political in his concerns. He was speaking out from his experience. He avoided the public spotlight as the first man on the moon. But his name will be famous forever. He is gone but his footprints are still up there and will be remembered centuries from now.”

NASA administrator Charles F. Boldon Jr.:

“As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own. He carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all.”

But this quote, from his family, is our favorite (emphasis ours):

“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.

(Sources: AP, io9, Neil Armstrong Info, Wall Street Journal, NY Times) (Image via The Cabin)

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Alanna is a pop culture writer who works as the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, an entertainment writer for Bustle, and a freelancer for everywhere. She has a lot of opinions about Harry Potter and will 100% bully you into watching the shows that she loves. Don't worry, it's a sign of friendship.