Comments: Armstrong's one small step resonated for all mankind
CNN iReport contributor Brixton Doyle submitted this cartoon as a tribute after the passing of Neil Armstrong.
August 27th, 2012
07:48 PM ET

Comments: Armstrong's one small step resonated for all mankind

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. Here's a look at what readers are saying.

Earth's largest satellite helps create our tides and makes moonlit rides possible. The white ball adorned in shadows and craters has long confounded and beckoned us, and Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon's dusty surface. Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were with him on a mission that inspired many more small steps.

News that Armstrong had died got our readers reminiscing about the many little impacts from mankind's giant leap into the future.

Space pioneer Neil Armstrong dies

The moon landing had a fairly obvious impact on some readers. Neil Sakaitis of La Prairie, Quebec, owes his first name to Armstrong.

"I was born in the 1970s and back then you just didn't throw out a name for your child. There was an importance to naming a child. My parents thought someone to walk on the moon was significant. They wanted to capture the hope."

He says he felt great sadness when he learned that Armstrong had died.

"I was talking to my dad, and he said your godfather passed away. My first reaction was, 'I haven't seen my father's side in ages,' and then my father said Neil Armstrong died," he wrote, and noted all the ways Armstrong had inspired him.

"Neil Armstrong, thank you for your accomplishments, your inspiration, for allowing us to do great things (reaching Mars for example), and most importantly, for giving us a name to remember. You can be sure that I will continue to speak about you for generations to come, and people will always know, why my name is Neil!"

Mike Black of Belmar, New Jersey, said he became a science teacher in part because of the inspiration of seeing humans in space.

"Neil knew that it was the efforts of 400,000 people to bring Apollo from JFKs challenge to reality. And we did it. We really did it. 1,000 years from now, when most of our history is forgotten, people will remember Apollo 11 and the name Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on another world. Neil Armstrong was also my inspiration as a child. I became a science teacher in large part because of the fascination caused by the Apollo space program. Apollo made science and engineering cool."

Some readers said they had connections among their families. Jimmy Hawkins of Los Angeles shared a photo showing his father, Tommie Hawkins, with Armstrong on a film set. The elder Hawkins was a prop master with Armstrong in Los Angeles in the 1970s. Working in the entertainment business like his father, he would often visit to catch up on new film projects they were both doing.

"He really liked Neil Armstrong," Jimmy Hawkins said. "When my dad passed away, I thought about how he worked with Neil Armstrong, he had a lot of respect for him."

In Farmersburg, Indiana, iReporter Mark Ivy was shaking his head in disbelief as he thought of  the three  occasions on which he'd gotten to meet Armstrong. Like many others, he described the former astronaut as a man who was firmly planted on the ground.

"It was awe-inspiring being able to sit and talk one-on-one with the first man on the moon. He was very humble, a real hero, who was more interested in praising others than taking the fame and credit for himself. Our astronaut hero, when asked how he felt about his place in history, deflected the question and began talking about the hours, the sweat, the intelligence of the ground staff that made it all possible for him to blast into space."

He remembers watching Armstrong walk on the moon and says he felt a surge of pride and hope.

"There was pride and a sense that if Neil Armstrong could make it to the moon, there was no star far away that we could not just reach out and grab it and pull it back down to Earth," he said.

Readers on also shared numerous comments in tribute to Armstrong. One commenter posted his favorite quotes.

"Five Greatest Neil Armstrong Quotes.
5) '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.'
4) 'Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.'
3) 'Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 AD. We came in peace for all mankind.'
2) 'That's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.'
1) 'The important achievement of Apollo was demonstrating that humanity is not forever chained to this planet and our visions go rather further than that and our opportunities are unlimited.'
I am greatly saddened that I never had the opportunity to meet him. I know the chances of me getting to do so were extremely slim, but it still hurts."

This person shared their "Where were you?" moment.

saveg1: "Sad that Mr. Armstong has left us, but one thing he has left me is that day I will never forget. I was standing on Main Street in Disneyland on July 20, 1969, when the loudspeaker came on and the announcer said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, man has just landed on the moon.' The whole place just erupted in cheers! I mean for a long time. RIP Mr. Armstrong."

Some posted poetry to express their feelings.

Michael Fatten:
"Our Magellan has died. Our Columbus has died. Our Captain Cook has died.
Guided by the lonely star
Beyond the Earth, he traveled far
He's found the havens, fair and free
and beaches of the starlit sea.
Ship by ship, He's sailed West
to fields and mountains ever blessed.
He leaves this little earth at last
I see the star upon his mast."

Sandra Clifton, who wrote a poem of her own on CNN iReport about the way people's perceptions of space have changed, said humans are drawn to explain the heavens.

"In light of the current exploration of Mars, I think the Apollo missions have such a profound significance, having debunked many of the old myths and wives' tales about what was 'out there.' I doubt anyone really expected the Mars rover to catch a glimpse of 'little green men' any more than we expected the lunar missions to reveal a moon made of cheese, but it does harken back to a more innocent era, as well as pointing forward to the many unknowns that still spark our interest in further exploration."

Rummel Pinera of Muntinlupa City, Philippines said reaching the moon was a huge achievement for humans who long used it as their "fluorescent light" at night, and inspired him to be interested in the environment.

"Armstrong’s walk on the moon has a unique impact on me. Such a 'walk' inspired me to become more aware about the wonders of nature and universe. Though I didn’t become a scientist nor a science-fiction author, I became an ardent environmentalist due to the inspiration derived from such a 'moonwalk.' Such moonwalk encouraged me to know more things about the environment and, also, to seek out more effective means of protecting the environment and natural resources from pollutants and abuses. Armstrong’s moonwalk proved to me that humans can make wonders by just being determined and courageous in what they’re doing."

Cartoonists on CNN iReport such as Jim Brenneman shared their own artistic visions of Armstrong's milestone. Brixton Doyle, who drew the image shown up top, tried to explain why people are so fascinated by that white sphere in the sky.

"Dinosaurs walked with the faint, white glow of our moon on their backs. Billions of lives have come and gone on our Earth over the millennia, the very breadth of humanity - all of history recorded and unrecorded. In a brief and majestic time, by vantage point, long ago, or not so long ago at all, 12 men from Earth walked upon a new world. Neil Armstrong was the first among that rare and brilliant company. I'm looking at the waxing moon overhead tonight. It is obscured by clouds and my vision is somehow, irrevocably dimmed."

Do you want to share a tribute to Armstrong, or do you have a moon landing memory? Share your opinion in the comments area below or show us your moon photos via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: iReport • On Earth • People in Orbit
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Matthew Kennedy

    One fact which has been overlooked in Armstrong's passing is his achievement as an Eagle Scout. He exemplified the Boy Scout's motto of "On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight." He served the American people in a unique, yet unprecedented and unreplicable manner. Someone once remarked historians decades, maybe centuries, from now may look back upon the period following his historic landing as "The Age of Armstrong". It's a possibility which can't be discounted. Armstrong's efforts will pave the way for future space exploration to include men landing on Mars and beyond. His presence will be missed; yet his humilty, his efforts at shunning the limelight, and his professional/personal example for live for generations yet to come.

    September 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Paul G.

      Beautiful put Matthew! Neil Armstrong was an Eagle Scout and exemplified all that is good about scouting and about our country. We were fortunate to live in his lifetime and are even luckier to have so many of these astronauts still among us. They are to be thanked for their service, sacrifice and dedication to President Kennedy's goal. Godspeed Neil Armstrong! My deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends.

      September 15, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
      • Matt

        Hi Paul,

        Hey thanks for the warm feedback! His life was an example we were fortunate to have, especially during the current challenging times. Armstrong served as a reminder of what we as Americans can achieve with honor, perseverance, and persistence. It's examples like his that will guide the country through the present darkness, and allow us to emerge into a brighter future for upcoming generations.

        September 16, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  2. Frank Mondana

    Armstrong was the perfect choice as the 1st person to step onto another world. He let the moment be what is was without turning it into a circus or using it later on to gain wealth. By being so quiet he let everyone define the moment for themselves.
    If Aldrin had been first there would be a totally different feeling. Buzz would have made it "his" moment and seeing how he conducts himself now, the moment would have been ruined.
    So thank you Neil Armstrong. You helped define my own work ethic of getting the job done without blowing my own horn. I am successful in my work because my work, not my ego, speaks for itself.

    August 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  3. Ted Ward

    Neil Armstrong and the astronauts like him in the Apollo program demonstrated a calm, controlled, courage and competence in the face of complex and dangerous tasks that showed us all how it is and can be done. In that way they gave us all courage even in the face of great challenges. Neil, in particular, did this with an unequalled equanimity and unpretentious intelligence. Thank you, Neil. I'll be sure to wink!

    August 29, 2012 at 12:03 am |
  4. CD

    We have lost a true American hero and a piece of living history. Because of dedicated, selfless and brave people such as Mr Armstrong, our youth once aspired to be great contributors to society themselves when they grew up. Christopher Dycha

    August 28, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • david lee

      he was above all a world hero. Hope young americans cut all the nonsense SWAG crap and start studying science to propel what your country's do best, space exploration.

      September 14, 2012 at 3:57 am |


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