I will always remember the two times I met Neil Armstrong. The first time was after he spoke at NASA’s 40th anniversary celebration at the Kennedy Space Center. I wasn’t interested in space then, but after we talked about NASA and his journey to the moon I went home with a newfound love for the Universe. He was the first to have opened my eyes to the world around me and the Universe inside me.
The second and last time I met him was a year ago in Alabama. I just had my 3rd tattoo done, my Neil Armstrong tattoo, when I heard that he was going to be in Huntsville to present an award to Dr. Georg von Tiesenhausen. After he presented the award I was lucky to have found Neil leaving the venue. He graciously stopped and we chatted, again about NASA and his journey to the moon. I told him about his immense inspiration to me and showed him my tattoo. He was embarrassed and said, “Of all the things to put on your body, you chose my face!”
Perhaps the most amazing thing to me about Neil is how humble he is. He is a national hero, and yet he doesn’t feel like he is. He feels normal. He feels like any other man with a hobby, a job, a wife, and kids. But he’s much more than that to the hundreds of children who watched Apollo 11 launch, and he’s much more than that to me.
He will always be the man who walked on the moon and he will always be the man who pulled me from the darkness and showed me that same moon.
We miss you Neil. You will always be a hero no matter what you thought.
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