Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More Than The First Step

Gregory Manchess

We were all saddened to hear about the death of Neil Armstrong last week. It felt as if we’d lost a part of our evolution, a direct link to our advancement as a species.

Most of you reading Muddy may not remember the moment Armstrong stepped onto the lunar soil, but I was in front of my folk’s b/w tv watching every moment. Forget that the camera perched on the LEM to record the historic event was mounted upside down, that we watched as he came down the ladder and bounced onto the pad of the strut at the top of the screen. (The broadcaster flipped the view for the audience watching around the world before he made that first step.) No one talks about that.

They also never talk about what a critical, hold-your-breath event it was during the landing. It was a scary situation just to put the LEM on the Moon, just to touch down in the first place. Besides all of the other things that had to go like clockwork to put a man up there, that’s the moment that everyone at NASA, including Buzz and Neil, were worried about the most. And it’s straight out of a nail-biting suspense film.

But while reading a lot of articles about Neil being the First Man on the Moon, I found an article that captured the moment so well, that every time I listen to the recording of the landing, and I hear Buzz Aldrin say, “red light”, which signaled Armstrong that they were nearly out of fuel to return, I’m projected back to that amazing feat like it was virtually happening again.

If you’re a fan of the space program this is an absolute must-read by Jeffrey Kluger, at TIME Magazine, that puts it in elegant perspective.


  1. He landed on the moon at age 38. What have I been doing? Great post.

  2. Hi Greg, Thank you for the blog and link to the Time magazine article.

    Another hero lost to our human limits.

    Though amazing he did so many things in his life that pushed those human limits far beyond the ordinary and allowed humanity to be one for a very brief moment in time. [I hope that makes sense]

    Last word- from Time magazine - ...Neil Armstrong "flew 900 different types of aircraft — all of them fit only for test pilots because no one could say with any certainty whether the things would perform as designed or would simply shake themselves to rivets once they reached flight speed."



  3. A true hero in every sense of the word...and a great inspiration to me. Godspeed Neil Armstrong.

  4. I remember it, through a haze of time... I was about 6 years old, and we were all allowed to stay awake/woken up to watch it, sitting cross-legged in pajamas on our flagstone den floor...

    You know, the wonderful (and much missed) band The Sundays wrote an absolutely beautiful song about it called "Monochrome", the last song on the last album "Static and Silence" (which features the moon on its cover). They really caught the event, at least for me and my feelings about it...

    Thank you for this link and post, Greg. Put my day in the right place.

  5. Yes, Armstrong was 38, but remember how you felt about that age at one time? Two years from the big 4-0?!? You can cut yourself some slack and remember that he had worked, practiced, focused all of his efforts over those young decades for that one accomplishment. WOW.

    THAT's discipline.

    Hey, David....I have that album and so glad you mentioned it! I love that song as it, too, catches the spirit so well. Hah! I didn't think anyone remembered those guys.....: )


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