The afterlife is one of those mysteries that may never be solved. Do we go to heaven or hell? Do we just cease to exist? Are we reincarnated? In order to find out, you have to die and by then you can’t report your findings. Instead, it’s a matter of faith as to what you believe.
Today, we lost a great man. An astronaut in the Gemini and Apollo programs. A test pilot on the Bell X-1B and X-15 aircraft. The first man on the moon.
Not long before Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, mankind took it as a matter of faith that we could get there. Engineers, scientists, astronauts and politicians all focused on getting a man outside Earth’s orbit without quite knowing what lay out there. If our astronauts did not survive the trip, we may never know. That doesn’t stop men like Armstrong. In fact, that quest for knowledge and thirst for exploration propels them. That is why, when Commander Armstrong stepped out of Tranquility Base and uttered those words to a nation and world watching, he became not just any other man. He became a hero for his generation and generations to come. In his statement about Neil Armstrong’s passing today, President Obama said Neil Armstrong was “among the greatest of American heroes – not just of his time, but of all time.”
It’s said that when Neil Armstrong, Gordon Cooper, Dick Gordon, Jim Lovell and Scott Carpenter found out about the launch pad tragedy that killed Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee as they prepared for Apollo 1, that Armstrong, Cooper, Gordon and Lovell drank scotch and discussed what happened. Death was a part of their lives. It wasn’t going to stop them. And that, my friends, is quite the legacy to leave.
Farewell, Neil Armstrong. You’re exploring the afterlife now. Maybe I’ll see you there.
[Image Credit: NASA]