|Neil Armstrong, right after walking on the moon.|
My favorite thing about Neil Armstrong is what he did with his life after returning from the moon. Following the Apollo 11 mission he became a huge celebrity. A sixth of the world's population watched his moon walk! Even today, it seems like everyone knows who he is. He could have done anything he wanted with the rest of his life.
Yet, when he retired from NASA in 1971, he returned home to Ohio to teach aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati. Nothing fancy or high-profile. Not something that would make him rich. But he loved his home, he loved teaching, and he loved space exploration.
Here's the statement from his family:
We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.
Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.
Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.
He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.
As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.
While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.
For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."
Sources: SpaceRef; Wikipedia; New Mexico Museum of Space History.