One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)
Neil Armstrong’s passing surely brings up childhood memories of space shuttles launching, and astronaut heroes. In the animated Pixar movie Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear even as a toy represents the best of an era that is no more. Space travel was cool at one time. It has fallen out of favor and is relegated to the very rich paying to be tourists who are now propelled to an international space station on Russian rockets. Save enough millions and you can learn what it is like to pee in zero gravity. Our giant leap lacks a stride.
There is something about a man who dedicated his life in service, then ended up walking on the moon and into every child’s history books. We all want the right stuff. But, we all don’t have that. And, there is the other Armstrong–that biking guy–who is being stripped of his title because he allegedly doped and cheated his way to the top. Our heroes surely do not look like they did before. Black and white cowboy hats let us know who was good and who was not. Role models surely stood tall like the amazing man John Wayne was on and off screen.
Flawed men we are, though. This perhaps is the lesson. None of us really match up. “All have sinned, and all fall short…” is not just something we read in the Bible, but witness daily in real life. But, that does not have to keep us from aspiring to the heroic no does it. Many men and women run into burning buildings and take bullets for us. There are tireless single mom’s who go against the odds and raise good kids. Some really live more self-less lives than the rest of us.
Heroes like these might be the lessor of heroes–flawed, selfless, sometimes limping, and fully free people. We do not get to all have credit in the way of medals or quotes that matter in history. But, we can surely be more than who we are since God made us to be. So, I mourn the astronaut we all admired. Neil Armstrong, an icon of not just America but the entire globe, is a loss of a one-of-a-kind hero. We need more of those.