I still remember some of the oddball things I used to think about while growing up; one of them being the day I was born. I always liked to brag about which celebrities shared the same birthday as me (October 5th).
Among the lucky ones were Larry Fine (The Three Stooges), Michael Andretti (the Indy Car driver) and Brian Johnson (lead vocalist for the band AC/DC). It was as if somehow, me coming into this world on the same day as these icons put me on an different level of cool.
But, the bragging rights I had for my actual birthday couldn’t compare to what I could shout from the rooftops about the year I was born. It was 1969 and I was roughly seventy-five days away from entering this world when Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the lunar surface and said:
That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
I’ll never forget the day I discovered that the first man to ever walk on the moon did so in the same year as my birth. For not only was it cool to be born in the same year as that monumental event, but it also made the date easy to remember on high school exams. If I ever needed to know in a pinch just how many years ago it took place, all I had to do was think about how old I was.
Neil Armstrong was a test pilot, an aerospace engineer, a university professor and a United States Naval Aviator. Those achievements alone are enough to inspire everyone, both and old, to reach for their dreams. But there will always be that one thing that Mr. Armstrong did during his lifetime that was the ultimate in cool.
Neil Armstrong was the first person to do something that no one else has ever done in the history of planet Earth. The same moon that Jesus and his Disciples taught under, the celestial body that Shakespeare wrote Sonnets to, the glowing orb that generations of lovers still hold hands and kiss beneath… Neil Armstrong was the first person there.
Now, think about it being near the end of your life and while you’re lying on your death-bed someone comes up and asks you what it was you did with it. What if you could look them in the eye and say, “I walked on the moon!”.
Godspeed Mr. Armstrong.