One Giant Leap -A hero we shall always remember-Neil Armstrong “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”. These were the exact words of Neil A. Armstrong as he took mankind’s first step on another planet. Thousands of years have passed ever since man appeared on the face of planet earth, men have evolved, and with every evolution, men have grown smarter, men have created something useful and also achieved higher goals than their ancestors. Many have dreamed of setting foot on another planet out there, but none had the strength to follow their dream, thus it was a quest that no man ever dared venture.
All but Armstrong and a few others out there, who had the heart, the dream, and the persistence to follow their dream. Armstrong ‘s legacy is known world-wide, he is considered as a hero in all our hearts, for he achieved the highest goal there could ever be by setting foot on a once alien planet, out of reach of any normal person. Armstrong’s whole dream of becoming an astronaut began at a very young age. At first, it was only an obsession with planes and pilots, like any other child. But in high school, he seemed to have set his own path for his life. All his spare time was used and focused on the subject of air and space.
The first plane ride his father took with him seemed to have locked his heart on the idea of being a pilot, of devoting his life to the world of air and space. It sealed his ambition to pursue a life dedicated to air and space. After Armstrong went to University of Purdue, in his fourth year, the summons for him to begin his journey came. He was to be transferred to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, California, to be fighter pilot. Therefore this was Neil Armstrong’s call to adventure, which leads to all his achievements later on whether for himself or for man-kind.
After studying for a few years at the Air Station, Armstrong became a military qualified fighter pilot. He was sent to participate in the Korean War as a fighter pilot. His base was the aircraft carrier, ‘The Essex’. The War proved as a road of trials for Armstrong. During one of his bombing missions, he was hit by anti-aircraft fire. His plane was badly damaged with no chance of repair. Armstrong’s only way out was to eject, but that was another problem. The plane was far below the required height for a pilot to safely eject. In order to save himself and also not fall into enemy hands, everal things had to be done in the little time he had left. First of all, Armstrong had to pull the plane up to a safe height for him to safely eject, also, he had to control the plane to keep a continuous flight until he was out of enemy territory, for even if he ejected within enemy boundaries, he would still be caught and kept as prisoner. Several obstacles stood in his way, one was that his plane was badly damaged, including both engine thrusters; secondly, his speedometer and all the other gadgets on the plane had all been disabled and lastly, his fuel tank was struck and was leaking oil.
Any of these disastrous setbacks could cause certain deaths to any pilot, yet not for Armstrong. He did not panic at all; he simply switched to manual control and tried his best to bring the plane to a safer height. It was not that Armstrong was not afraid; it was because he knew that by panicking would only mean a definite death for him, whereas if he stayed calm, there might still be a chance for him to survive the devastating situation. In the end, Armstrong had escaped death’s grasp; he had pushed the bed-rugged plane to a safe height and also had brought it out of enemy territory.
He had prevailed with his persistence in believing that he would live, he had also prevailed with his skills of flying and also his calmed thinking, which was the most essential part of his escaping the “Road of Trials” alive. With the reputation of an ace fighter who received a Korean Service Metal, and an air metal with two gold stars, Neil Armstrong was later chosen to be on the team of the first men to step foot on the moon. That was the journey that he took to which we can all relate to his name Neil A.
Armstrong, for he was the first of our kind to set foot on the moon. To us, his journey to the moon had seemed peaceful, undisturbed, and trouble free, as if everything was going according to plan. No, that is what you are meant to see, in order to not create a world-wide panic. The true story is, after entering the orbit of the moon, the astronauts discovered that the face of the moon was dotted with craters some the size of ten football fields. The problem was apparent to the astronauts, the landing module the Eagle could not land at the scheduled set-down spot.
Buzz and Collins were holding their breath, both very tense, but Armstrong was acting entirely different, he shut down all the disabled computers, switched the ship into manual mode, and started to scan the face of the moon for a safe landing spot. He searched carefully, no signs of panic showed on his face. If he didn’t find a place for them to land, the fuel for the return trip to Columbia would be impossible, which would mean tragic deaths for the three astronauts in outer space.
Armstrong worked without blinking; if he had panicked then, their mission would be a failure and they would have to either return home empty handed or die there in the emptiness of the vast universe. Minutes passed, but Armstrong did not give up. In the end, his persistence paid off for he had spotted a safe place to land their landing module. Inside Armstrong, it was another story. Fear that was plain shown on others faces were trying to disturb his thinking. He would not let that happen, for that would put him and his companions in danger.
This was the internal obstacle that he had to overcome. He had to take control of his fears, and it was this control that made him different than others, that made him a hero. What happened afterwards we all know by heart, the moment his foot touched the soft moon dust, he spoke to the world, making the unforgettable and significant speech “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, this was the “Ultimate Boon” of the journey that we were waiting for, for he had achieved his goal of his quest.
This was the climax of the journey where all the practice had paid off; this was the moment when the hero gloried in the success of the journey. Armstrong’s improvising skills was most relevant throughout his journey. His entire career was full of surprises such as, machinery failure, computer shut-down and the fuel usage drained. These were both surprises and problems he had to deal with; at times he had to be on top of them within a few minutes for they were life-threatening matters.
Faced with these problems, others might have only knelt down on their knees to pray asking god to give them a miracle but Armstrong takes things into his own hands; he thinks of ways around the problem even without the right tools or professional help he improvises. This is a remarkable gift and one of the best traits of Neil A. Armstrong because heroes will most definitely have to encounter difficulties along his/her journey, and if they know improvisation, then he/her will be able to solve the problem in their own way.
Also, Armstrong has assurance in himself, confidence in his companions and the trusts he has for the scientists of NASA; therefore meaning that his life is in the hands of the scientists. Armstrong is very confident in his own skills, and he has always known that his journey to the moon would be a success. He had no second thoughts regarding failure, which is another way of showing trust in the people who work together to make this journey possible. Self-confidence is very important for a hero, for it enables him to stand tall against obstacles, and not shrink away.
If Armstrong did not believe in himself, then the mission would have most definitely failed. For Armstrong, his courage gained him the strength to try the untried, and achieve the impossible. (Too much repetition of trust and confidence) Also, Armstrong’s persistence shone as a light throughout his journey. Starting in high school and all throughout his life, his persistence on achieving his dreams never faltered; during the flight to the moon, his persevering philosophy of, “trying without blinking” had found a safe spot to land on the moon for him and his colleagues.
Without determination, Armstrong never would have gone this far. Thus was a hero of all times, a hero who is kind, smart, confident, a hero who had dreams, and was not afraid to chase after them; a hero who outdid every person on the planet, a hero who achieved the impossible, a hero that shall live on in our hearts. (a bit dramatic especially the “outdid every person on the planet”) His persistence to pursue his dreams we shall imitate, his contribution to society and the world we shall follow suit. We shall always have a part left out in our hearts, to honor our hero, Neil A. Armstrong.
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