Through the wonders of the NASA TV app, I watched Neil Armstrong's memorial service at National Cathedral in D.C. yesterday. I'm so glad I could (ah, the wonders of modern technology). What a fitting tribute to a man who wanted no fame, no notoriety, no glamor - only to be of service.
I wish kids in classrooms everywhere could have seen it. Friend after friend cited the astronaut's humility and ethics, his unwavering morality and kindness. Just think - he was the first human to step foot on a solid body outside of earth. Yet he never exploited his fame, not for a second.
We were living in Turkey but scheduled for repatriation in August of 1969. My father pulled every string imaginable to get us back to the States in time to see the televised moon landing. Unfortunately, his reason - wanting his children to witness such an historic event - didn't cut orders for an early departure from Ankara. We missed seeing that "one small step" by a few weeks.
While I wish we had been able to see it on TV (there was none in Turkey in those days), I'm grateful our family watched one of the launches from Cape Canaveral a few years ago. I'll never forget the sound - astoundingly, ear-splittingly loud. And the light! The speed - I've never seen anything go so fast, and probably never will again.
Space is another frontier we should keep exploring. Cutting funds from NASA doesn't help this nation. We are born adventurers. When we count pennies, we're pound foolish, to paraphrase that old cliche. How many children now look at the night sky and wish they could get there?
Neil Armstrong was designing a way to land an aircraft on Mars when he was a student. How many Neil Armstrongs are there now in our schools who will never have a chance to replicate his accomplishments because we won't, as a nation, support a space program?