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South Texas Living

Paying tribute to Neil Armstrong

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Julia Castro
Apple Pie and Salsa
September 26, 2012 | 1,759 views | Post a comment

It was sad hearing of the passing of Neil Armstrong. At his memorial service, they spoke of his humility and how he lived his life with quiet dignity. He could have cashed in on his fame. After all, he did what no other human had ever done before. He was the first man to walk on the moon! Henry and I talked about it. We are still amazed that in our lifetime we got to see with the help of another phenomenon, the television, a man actually walking on the moon! Of course, Mr. Armstrong didn’t accomplish that feat by himself. A lot of work had gone into the space program before that.

I remember that day. It was our daughter Sara’s birthday and it was a Sunday. I always baked a cake whenever one of the kids had a birthday. That day it served two purposes -- to celebrate Sara’s birthday and the moon landing. Most of the afternoon we sat watching the reports on our television set about Apollo 11 making its way to the moon. The kids and I sat huddled on the couch or on the floor wrapped in blankets. I know it was July, but we had a new air conditioner and Henry had it going full blast. We were freezing, but Henry was very comfortable. It was so exciting, anticipating the landing. And then it actually happened.

Moments later, Neil Armstrong stepped out and uttered his now famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” We were in awe. The younger kids didn’t understand what was happening but the older ones did. (Lia missed the event by three months.)

Who would have ever thought that a human being could actually walk on the moon? When I was very young, the grownups would tell us that if we looked hard enough we could see a man’s face on the moon. Sometimes we thought we actually could.

I love to stand outside for a few moments when the moon is full. I marvel at its beauty. And I think of that brave crew on Apollo 11 who didn’t know what they would find there or if they would even get there, but they were willing to risk their lives.

I read that Mr. Armstrong’s family suggested for those wishing to pay him tribute, “the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” I intend to do that from now on.

Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry. Her email is juliamcastro1@gmail.com.

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