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"For every American, this has to be the proudest day of our lives....For one priceless moment, in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one." President Richard Nixon

by Matthew from Savannah, Georgia

Commander Neil Armstrong (www.jsc.nasa.gov)
My hero is Neil Alden Armstrong. He is an American astronaut. He was the first man to walk on the surface of the moon.

Born on August 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong’s love for airplanes and flying started at an early age.

In 1947, Armstrong received a U.S. Navy scholarship and entered Purdue University to study aeronautical engineering. But after only a year and a half, the U.S. Navy called him to active duty and he became a Navy pilot. In 1950, he was sent to Korea where he flew 78 combat missions during the Korean War. He received three air medals for his outstanding service. In 1952, Armstrong returned to Purdue University to finish his studies.

In 1955, Armstrong became a research pilot with the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (now known as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA). In 1962, he became an astronaut. He was the command pilot for the Gemini 8 mission launched in 1966. With co-pilot David Scott, he performed the first successful docking of two vehicles in space. This was important because it was a necessary step to learn before men could be sent to the moon.

Neil Armstrong on the Moon (http://dayton.hq.nasa.gov)

Armstrong was commander of the Apollo 11, the first manned moon-landing mission in history. He worked very hard during the preparations. On July 20, 1969, he made history by being the first man to land a craft on the moon and the first man to step on its surface. His first words after stepping on the moon became one of the most famous quotes of the 20th century: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Since the beginning of time, people have looked up at the moon and wished to go there. Armstrong was the first to accomplish this dream for all of us.

Armstrong resigned from NASA in 1971 and became an aerospace engineering professor. He also went into consulting in the private industry and was on the board of directors of several companies.

Neil Armstrong’s life taught me that any goal can be reached if we work hard, work together, are determined and not afraid to take responsible risks. His important contributions to our country and to the world make me proud to be an American. He is my hero.

Written by Matthew from Savannah, Georgia
Last changed on: 4/24/2006

Dunham, Montrew. Childhood of Famous Americans NEIL ARMSTRONG.

NASA. "Biographical Data." [Online] Available http://www.jcs.nasa.gov.

Neil Armstrong. "Explorers of the Millenium." [Online] Available http://library.thinkquest.org.

U.S. Centennial . "Neil A. Armstrong." [Online] Available http://www.centennialofflight.gov.

First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong
by James R. Hansen

Neil Armstrong: Young Pilot (Childhood of Famous Americans Series)
by Montrew Dunham
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