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Neil Armstrong: American Hero
August 27, 2012—As the Apollo 11 lunar module “Eagle” approached the surface of the Moon on July 20, 1969, the millions of people following the mission on TV and radio could hear the voice of a NASA controller calling out “sixty seconds … thirty seconds.” This was the time before the fuel would run out and the mission would have to be aborted.
Neil Armstrong took his time landing as he coolly maneuvered over a field of boulders in search of a flat surface. With less than half a minute to spare, he and Buzz Aldrin became the first to land on the Moon.
NASA had scheduled a four hour rest period for the astronauts after touchdown but there was no way after traveling 250,000 miles that excitement and adrenalin would let them sleep. Armstrong soon took “one giant leap for mankind,” becoming the first human to set foot on another world.
The word “hero” is bandied about too loosely these days so it’s right to reflect at the time of his death—a state he had cheated so often—that Neil Armstrong was the real thing.
Edward Hudgins writes on political and social issues. He is the editor of Freedom to Trade: Refuting the New Protectionism, Space: The Free Market Frontier, and two books on postal service privatization. His latest collection is entitled An Objectivist Secular Reader. He is director of advocacy for The Atlas Society.