A Hero’s Passing

Image via Gizmodo.com

Neil Armstrong has died.

We don’t have many heroes in our modern, cynical age. Even fewer gods. In a time where almost any achievement seems open to almost anyone, there are few things that leave us truly awestruck. Truly humbled.

Neil Armstrong was a man who achieved something that most thought impossible (and unfortunately some still do). He stood upon the face of another world. Armstrong was the pinnacle of a truly Herculean endeavour, where thousands of mere mortals worked together to show that even the very heavens were within our grasp. That the celestial bodies our ancestors worshiped could be reached out to and touched.

The first man to set foot on another world.

Armstrong, with his compatriots Aldrin and Collins, returned to earth as heroes. To worldwide adulation and acclaim. We would expect an ordinary human to crumble under the pressure, or be revealed as somehow fragile and deficient. It was Armstrong’s genius that he became a cypher – he retreated from the public eye, gave few interviews and fewer appearances – and allowed us to see him as a living monument to human achievement.

Neil Armstrong died today at 82 years of age. A true hero, in the homeric sense of the word. And the world is poorer for his passing.

In the late 60s and early 70s, 12 men walked on the moon. There are now only 8 of them left among us.