Chapter 16
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One Small Step

Margaret Lazarus Dean reflects on the legacy of Neil Armstrong

August 29, 2012 At first Knoxville novelist and The Huffington Post space blogger Margaret Lazarus Dean didn’t plan “to write about the death of Neil Armstrong.” For her, it felt like a personal loss, coming so soon after the death of Armstrong’s fellow space pioneer Sally Ride. Nevertheless, Dean, who has loved NASA since childhood, seems to have found a way to reflect on the brighter parts of the astronauts’ legacies.

Dean’s eulogy for Neil Armstrong in The Huffington Post focuses on the quiet humility with which the legendary astronaut carried his fame:

Some people think Neil Armstrong’s choice to stop giving interviews and making appearances showed him to be standoffish, rude, or even ungrateful. To me, it shows just the opposite—he had the humility to see the first moon landing as an accomplishment of many people, not just one man. His view of the meaning of Apollo was perhaps best summed up in what he chose to say at the moment he placed his first boot on the surface of the moon. His words reflect the profundity of the achievement while also deliberately shifting the focus from his own part in it to what the moment meant for all mankind.