In the summer of 1969, our planet was well on its way to coming apart at the seams. National political conventions the year before resulted in full blown riots in American cities. Assassination, both here and abroad, was becoming a common element in the political process. The war in Vietnam had been raging for years with no end in sight. Anti-war sentiment in America was getting ugly and would soon result in National Guardsmen shooting kids to death on a college campus in Ohio. We all lived with the knowledge that, at any moment, the Russkies were gonna lob a few thousand nuclear warheads over the North Pole.
Then, Neil took his One Small Step while the entire world watched with pride and amazement. It showed us all how small our "blue marble" really is and proved, despite our differences, what human beings working toward a common goal are capable of – we all knew Neil didn’t take that step by himself. It made solutions to the rest of the world's problems suddenly seem a little less impossible.
This, more than his copious technical and professional achievements and his personal grace, is how I will remember Neil Armstrong.