A boyhood hero of mine, and many millions of others, has died:
CINCINNATI (AP) — Neil Armstrong was a quiet self-described nerdy engineer who became a global hero when as a steely-nerved pilot he made "one giant leap for mankind" with a small step on to the moon. The modest man who had people on Earth entranced and awed from almost a quarter million miles away has died. He was 82.
Armstrong died following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures, a statement Saturday from his family said. It didn't say where he died.
I had read that he recently had heart surgery and that he was doing well. I'm very saddened that it turns out that things took a terrible turn for the worse. My condolences to his family and friends.
Armstrong's accomplishments are obviously widely known and appreciated, and there's no need for me to recap them here. I will say though, there was a time in my youth when he was second only to my father in my respect and admiration. Time naturally adds more to that place over the years, but there's no doubt he remains there in my esteem.
He was a fellow Buckeye, a brave astronaut, and later, a man who set the standard for public figures by showing humility and grace in accepting how his own hard work and flat-out luck put him in one of the greatest roles in human history. I love how after soaring all the way to the moon, he chose to spend part of his years working the earth and raising cattle on his farm outside of Cincinnati.
There were many thrilling moments to that most wondrous Apollo 11 mission to the moon, but the one I hold most dear is the successful descent and landing instead of that first step, because of all of the opportunities for disaster that never came to pass as they set the Eagle down. Neil Armstrong would be the first to credit the whole team, but his skill and courage had much, if not everything, to do with that too.
So few words will ever compete with "...the Eagle has landed."
Godspeed, Neil Armstrong.