Neil Armstrong is being celebrated as a great hero. He was the first man to walk on the Moon. Millions watched him descend from the space capsule and listened to him utter that memorable phrase, “That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." Armstrong and Aldrin were part of a dedicated group who fulfilled John Kennedy’s 1961 promise to send an American safely to the Moon before the end of the decade. They opened a new frontier. They inspired millions.
I remember exactly where I was on July 20, 1969 when Armstrong stepped on the Moon. He did not inspire me to be an astronaut or an astronomer. What he did was more important; he helped me to end a long nightmare that had lasted 12 years.