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Share Your Reflections of Neil Armstrong, Who Died Today

The first astronaut to walk on the moon died today at age 82.

The Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong died after complications following cardiac bypass surgery, according to news reports.

Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon in 1969, arriving by NASA spacecraft built by companies with ties to the Puget Sound, including Boeing. In recent years, local communities have found ways to honor the Apollo program's achievement, such as a recent public art installation on Mercer Island.

Where were you and what do you remember from that historic moment? If you were born after 1969, what does Neil Armstrong mean to you?

Ken Mortland August 25, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Lacking any other technology to use, I made an audio recording on my reel to reel concert tape recorder/player of the TV program of the landing. One of my treasured relics of that time. One of the great moments in 20th century American history. Thanks for your service to America, Neil.
Doris Schwinkendorf August 25, 2012 at 10:20 PM
My family and I excitedly watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. My daughter was born the next day. If she had been a boy we had thought of naming her Neil in honor of his great feat. I hope he realized how much pride he brought Americans when he took that "giant step for mankind". Sad to think he is gone.
Margaret Santjer August 25, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Ken, I love this memory! Just as the space program has seen technology change enormously, so has the rest of society in how we view and mark such historic events. No more reel-to-reels -- we can pull up a digital photo of Neil Armstrong's feat, Google the history of the American space program, and we're sharing memories with people we haven't met on a website. Thanks to the pioneers who have paved the way to make this all possible!
Lori LeBoutillier Callahan August 26, 2012 at 07:37 AM
My memories of that time were of great changes. My father worked for Boeing and we moved from Bellevue WA to Houston Texas. Living a short distance from NASA training center. A lot of the programs dad was a part of were kind of hush, hush so we didn't really know what he did. When he passed away, my father, last year I inherited some of his belongings from my step mother. One was his 40 year service award certificate from Boeing. He was asked what his most memorable time was; he said it was the period between 1967 and 1970 working on the Apollo-TIE program in Houston. He would fly to North American Rockwell to do testing and then to Cape Kennedy for flight verification. Adrian (my father) said working "real-time quality at NASA" has been the highlight of his career. I remember we wanted to get a kitten. Neil Armstrong had a litter of new baby kittens. So dad took us over to Neil’s to pick out a kitten of our choice. On the day of lift off, of Apollo 11, I remember sitting in the living room with my family and kitten in my lap watching the TV. So every time I think of Neil Armstrong and what he did I am in ah, so amazing and exciting, and I think of my white Persian with one green eye and one blue named J.R. Neil, may you rest in peace. Thank You...
Jon H August 26, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I was born after the moon landing, but as a fellow Purdue alum there was always a great deal of pride in the legacy of Neil Armstrong and the others who have contributed to aerospace advances over the past 80 years. Go Boilers! Rest in Peace.
Venice Buhain August 26, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Lori, what a great personal story and personal connection to history.
Kendall Watson August 26, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Here's a neat memory emailed to me from Mercer Island resident Tom Imrich, who flew sailplanes with Armstrong in Texas, 1967. It's a little long so I'll post it in two parts: (Part 1 of 2) "Neil was a great guy. I used to tow him (in sailplanes) back in the summer of 1967, at Texas Soaring Association's field (TSA) just southwest of Dallas. Attached is a picture I took of Neil while he was "walking the wing" of George Coder's Standard Austria sailplane, which Neil sometimes flew while he was visiting Texas on business. I was working at Carswell AFB for General Dynamics at the time, in low speed high-lift aerodynamics on the F-111, as an MIT Course XVI (Aeronautics and Astronautics) Co-Op. In the evenings after work at GD, and on weekends all that summer, I used to fly gliders as well as tow gliders at TSA, mostly using the club's L-19. That's how I got to briefly know and tow Neil, usually when he was flying George's (borrowed) sailplane at our glider club. I could even feel during the tows that Neil was very smooth on the controls, proactive, always in perfect tow position, and would give steering commands toward lift he wanted to work with the greatest finesse. In general he was a great pilot. What a summer!
Kendall Watson August 26, 2012 at 07:33 PM
(Part 2 of 2) Neil wasn't very well known at the time outside of military and NASA flight test circles. He had just recently been named as one of the many new additions to the astronaut corps. I half took the picture because George Coder was a leading national and international soaring authority at the time, and his Standard Austria (in the picture) was famous (even earlier gracing the cover of August 1964 Soaring Magazine). At the time, no one had the slightest indication that Neil would someday be famous, and go on to be an historic figure for all humanity, for all time, having been the first human being to set foot on a another world off our planet earth. His passing makes me very sad for a special reason. I was hoping he'd make it to the Museum of Flight's "Wings of Heroes Gala" coming up on September 22nd, attending along with a very large number of other Astronauts who have indicated they plan to attend. I wanted to give Neil a copy of this picture from our distant mutual past, and share our memories of that terrific summer of 1967, flying gliders at TSA in Texas. He was a wonderful person, a giant in the flight test community and throughout the Aerospace industry, who will be fondly remembered for all time. Best Regards, Tom Capt. Thomas Imrich Senior Engineering Test Pilot, B747 (Retired)
Kendall Watson August 27, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Here's another emailed memory from local resident Lee Maxwell: "I saw my grandmoter at age 80 with a box camera shooting the landing image that was displayed on her TV!!! It was a monumental happening to her...not only the landing, but that she could see it on TV."
Tony Dondero August 28, 2012 at 07:16 AM
A middle school in my hometown of Forest Grove, Ore. is named after Neil Armstrong. I did not attend there but played and refeered a lot of soccer on the fields there. Neil Armstrong also grew up in the United Church of Christ, which I started attending at age 10 and recently became a member of again (and where I met my wife.)
Kendall Watson September 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Here's a neat reflection of Neil Armstrong from Santos Contreras: "I was in Houston with Boeing during the moon landing where we had a NASA contract. When the astronauts arrived at Ellington Air Force Base outside of Houston they arrived in an enclosed Airstream trailer. The scientists wanted to make sure the astronauts had not brought back any moon germs. They were kept sequestered for a few days. I was able to get up close to the window of the trailer and took a picture of the 3 astronauts inside. Also, shopped at the grocery store where I would see Mrs. Armstrong from time to time."

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