So, today, I am writing about another Armstrong. And, for another reason.
I had turned 11 in the same month, July 1969, when Apollo 11 had landed on the Moon. I was in fifth standard studying in a local school…
And, I still remember how I was coming back home, all jumping with my friends… Hey, we were given a holiday!
Man had landed on the Moon!
And, Neil Armstrong was this man!
No Television sets, dear… still we kids knew how a man had landed on the Moon!
My dad was a huge fan of J.F.Kennedy. He kept telling us that it was President Kennedy’s dream to send Man to the Moon, before the decade ended, and bring him safely home.
President Kennedy did not live to see his own dream come true… “He is watching it from right up there, sitting on his rocking chair!” our dad would beam as he dramatized. We kids simply believed in what our dad would tell us!
“A small step for Man,
a giant leap for mankind!”
It took many years for kids like us
to understand what those famous words
of Neil Armstrong meant…
Yesterday, at 82, this Commander of Apollo – 11 passed away!
Except for the famous ‘first-step-on-the-Moon’, there is nothing much I know about Neil Armstrong. I am sure, it is so with the rest of the world, as well.
So, one can imagine how one’s life is forever measured by that one great event! It would be difficult to wipe it off the human memory… as difficult to wipe out the Armstrong’s maiden footprints on the surface of the Moon. In fact, once, when he was asked as to how he felt knowing his footprints would likely to stay on the Moon's surface for thousands of years, Armstrong had remarked, "I kind of hope that somebody goes up there one of these days and cleans them up!"
This hope would always remain a hope!
The rest of his life, Neil Armstrong had chosen to live a quiet life… He was a private man… content more with meeting with dignity the daily little challenges of life. But, his Moon-walk was his Destiny and it would live with him as his shadow till he died yesterday.
I did not know, how frustrating such a situation could be till I came across Neil Armstrong’s remarks in one of his interviews on CBS in 2005:
"I guess we all like to be recognized not for one piece of fireworks but for the ledger of our daily work."
Oh God! This is a giant of a confession!
There is much more to life than just a few fireworks, now and then…
Neil Armstrong says, my friends, that his daily ledger contains much more than that one mind-blowing firework on July 20, in 1969!
It is time, we opened our own daily ledgers!
Pics.: Yogita Tipnis