Neil Armstrong's Other Legacy

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small" were the words of Neil Armstrong - the first man who walked on the surface of the moon.

What strikes me most about Neil Armstrong is not his legacy of commanding the historic landing of Apollo 11 on the moon in 1969, but his humility on top of an overwhelming achievement. Even Neil Armstrong's iconic words - "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind" - upon landing on the moon exudes an obvious hint of humility.  

We've seen it, since time immemorial, that majority of those who have achieved excellence developed a bit of arrogance. There are those who earned it and can probably get a pass for being a chutzpah. But even with a clear justification, arrogance is arrogance and therefore annoying.

That virtue embedded in Neil Armstrong is important for me because I've always believed that greatness can be achieved through hard work but having a genuinely good character is something else.

Neil Armstrong's personality was one of the top reasons why he was chosen by NASA administrators to be the first man to step on the moon instead of Buzz Aldrin. According to his autobiographer, James Hansen, “Aldrin was someone they did not think was going to be the best role model. Compared to Aldrin, Armstrong was the easy choice. Had no ego. He was very humble. He was very shy.”

His family and friends describe him as a modest man who shuns publicity. In a world full of "selfies" (myself included) and publicity-hungry individuals, Armstrong stood out in a rare class of his own. A true role model.  

His name and accomplishments will forever be etched in history books, but it is his humility that will inspire  and motivate people to be better. After all, acts of humility often linger long in our memories than achievements. Neil Armstrong's notable humble character is his other legacy. His true legacy.

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