That's One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind

I was ten years old. Sitting on the hardwood floor of my home next to my father’s chair. The lesson was that achievement comes by dedication. That the human mind can attain anything it can imagine. That being good and being successful are their natural results. Neil Armstrong was a worthy hero and I was ten years old.


It’s very clear that he said “It’s one small step for man”, and not “It’s one small step for a man”.

Now that Armstrong has passed, the media lately has been trying to tell us he said the latter (“It’s one small step for a man”).

Apparently the media can’t stand humanity being referred to as “man”, so they’re busy putting words in Armstrong’s mouth.


He had wrote it beforehand I believe. He was supposed to say, “for a man”, but I guess landing on the moon can make you forget things. :wink:

I like to do research in actual libraries and not on the internet. I guess that goes back to my childhood when I would get dropped off in the library while everyone else ran errands.

On the point of Armstrong’s famous quote. I agree that the audio clearly sounds as if he did not say “a man”. However, it would be easy to run the words “for” and “a” together like this…"That’s one small step “fora man”. Running it together you can even make it sound like “for man”. Armstrong himself even claimed that he said it as “for a man” until he heard the audio and was convinced he left it out. What ever the truth, it shows that eye witness testimony is sometimes inaccurate and interviewing witnesses can be very challenging.

More importantly, to me it was the act itself of stepping onto the moon and not the words that changed the world and fulfilled the dreams of an entire nation.

In fact, the words themselves may have diffused controversy over previous statements that had been made by astronauts in space. For instance, the reading of Genesis by Apollo 8.

Some felt the event was inappropriately memorialized by Christian religious text about the origins of creation. Not me. Having spent much of my short nine plus years of life thus far in hardwood pews of various sorts listening to all manner of evangelical and missionary preaching, it was familiar and comforting to me.

However, famous atheist Ayn Rand said about the Armstrong statement, " [quote]…I felt one instant of unhappy fear, wondering what he would say, because he had it in his power to destroy the meaning and the glory of that moment, as the Astronauts of Apollo 8 had done in their time. He did not. He made no reference to God; he did not undercut the rationality of his achievement by paying tribute to the forces of its opposite; he spoke of man. :That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." So it was. " [/quote]

Ayn Rand, “The Voices of Reason, Essays in Objectivist Thought” 1988.
Bold added.

In 69, I was watching this event and couldn’t help but wonder at all the technology and the collective genius that went into this.

I then couldn’t help but remember of all the men, 18 -23 like myself, who laid in pieces and in body bags in crap-hole in South East Asia – and for nothing. I couldn’t help but remember the a corporal that I once dropped off in Alabama, just down the street from a dinner with two entrance, one of which was for whites only. I gave a ride to another, a sergeant from East Patterson, N.J, whose neighborhood had to resemble a place that time forgot. Such a difference between the have’s-s-and-have-not’s, yet here we are going elsewhere so far away from things that could really use all that technology and collective genius, right here.

In 69 I remember raising a can of Schlitz to the guy on the moon, wishing him a safe journey with one breath, then saying … “ come on back Armstrong, nothing has really change, ya haven’t miss a thing.”

Coach B.

Listen to Armstrong’s words. They are very deliberate, with much pause in between each word. These guys were highly intelligent, and he knew exactly what he was saying. There is no way he said “for a man”. He just didn’t. If he had spoken rapidly, perhaps the argument can be made. But, again, his words are just too deliberate - and clear.

As for what Armstrong said he said or intended to say, I don’t believe what the media says about that now. They have an agenda.

I know this. If Armstrong’s first name was Nancy, and she had said “for woman”, no one in the media today would be inserting an “a”.

I was a hot July in Illinois…in the Hampton Park subdivision of the Chicago suburb of Romeoville…my dad had a sencond hand window a/c unit he mounted into the the wall and we had the type of pop-corn that came in a little foil covered pan and popped on the stove…my brother and sister were rivited to the tube…it was history and we knew it…
I remember praying so hard for Apollo 13 after that…the whole country prayed…I felt it even as kid.

Coach B.

I thought of this perspective, when I read your post. I was ten years old when this song came out also. Reality; always depends on your perspective…

I’m the son who is born to wave the flag, John Fogerty captured the feeling of '69, those spoiled generation of kids whose dad had fought and won WWII (It ain’t me indeed.), they wanted to cast down the rigid values and morals their dads/moms held so strongly to…I became one in the 70’s, left it in the 80’s…my family believes in duty…I don’t know why… it is in my DNA, the DNA that had already been kia’d 5 years before 69, that kept my brother flying dead Marines in from Beriut…that keeps my eldest fighting forrest wildfire even though he just had 2 buddies fried last fall in a terrible tragity, where they were saving others and then one needed help and they both perished…(he was working the fire on another side). I guess my Green Beret Uncle, Silver Star, Purple Heart winner (Posthumously in 65) said it best when in a newspaper reporter asked why he was on his 3rd tour in Viet Nam…he simply said that he was doing his job…so that his nephews wouldn’t have to come…Imagine a country where every single person put that level of sacrifice into their daily thinking…we’d get to the moon again, we’d cure cancer…It means we’d have to give up selfish…

I read somewhere…can’t cite the source…Neil Armstrong wasn’t even suppose to be the first man to step on the moon. It was going to be the pilot of the Lunar Module, Buzz Aldrin. But ole Buzz was going to have to climb over Neil to get out and so for the sake of ease and simplicity; they decided Neil would go first. Aldrin did however, give himself communion on the surface of the moon. He kept it quiet so that there would be no more fuel for controversy. I believe I’ll confiscate a copy of his autobiography from some library and check him out.

Michael Collins was the command module pilot. He was the guy that would have had to leave without his two fellow astronauts had the lunar module failed to return from the surface of the moon. There was even a statement prepared for President Nixon in the event of this tragedy.

I can’t imagine the courage it took to strap yourself to a rocket and shoot for the moon.

I read that Armstrong was chosen because NASA felt he wouldn’t use the honor for self promotion and financial gain. Not so with Aldrin.

Regarding strapping a rocket to your butt and blasting into space if you ever have a chance to visit the Udvar-Hazy museum at Dulles Airport in VA you can stand in one spot and see all the space vehicles from Mercury to the space shuttle. Those early capsules were not much more than a corrugated metal pipe with some seals for pressurization. Unbelievable someone would get in there and actually go into space. Imagine spending days in a coach airline seat with a spacesuit on and that is what the inside of those capsules were like. Not much more than a tin can.

I was 10 or so when they landed on the moon. All these years the thing I remembered most was the landing and how close they were to running out of fuel. Not sure why that stuck in my memory more than stepping off the ladder.

Hey, I was just there a few weeks ago! Very cool! Right now, they’ve got the Space Shuttle Discovery on display. Super-duper cool!

You jet-setter you… :wink:
And came up with some hip lingo too 8) Super-duper…no doubt… :lol:

My buddy had a cardboard mock-up…his mom wouldn’t let anyone else in it…I was shattered… :?

Did that conjure up memories.

Long before Armstrong went on his ride, there were tests of man’s ability to withstand high speeds. This process involved a wild ride on thing called a rocket sled. This device had a seat bolted down on a platform, with that platform’s backend stuffed to the hilt with rockets. Then, this setup was placed on a straight track and some brave sole volunteered to sit into this contraption while another brave sole held a kitchen match in his hand, swiped the match against his butt, lit it, then lit the rockets.
Kerrpow - and off the rider went!

This kind of thing did not go unnoticed by a group of kids that lived in a section of my hometown that had a very steep hill, an abandoned spur track of the New York/New Haven Rail Road, and a stump dump that had all kinds of stuff dropped off in it.

Word came down that the neighborhood daredevil made himself, with his brother’s help, a rocket sled. On a foggy Sunday morning all systems were go and I and others went across town to watch.

I got to hand it to the kid, roman candles were stuffed into a collection of Chase and Sanborn coffee cans, nailed to a piece of plywood backing, an old cement mixing pan for a body and all this perched on a 2 X 10 with collection of metal skates nailed underneath. At the time, a TV show called Captain Midnight was popular, so the name of this contraption was “The Secret Squadron”.

On that foggy morning, a couple of roman candles were lit and a quick shove, wal-la, gonzo! The roman candles soon sputter out, but the sparks from the old metal skates really looked neat! The thing really got a full head of steam, about half way down the hill with bits and pieces of the thing flying off and twirling up and away.

Now the plan was that the sand plies in the stump dump would cushion the impact at the bottom of the hill. WRONG! The foggy blanketed the dump to us at the top of hill and blanked our view, a view that would have told us that the city removed the stumps the day before, dug out the dump ready for development.

Well, the kid had gained a lot of speed, hit the edge of the pavement and launched himself in parts, about forty feet in the air, and straight down with the aerodynamics of a brick. We all ran down the hill to pat the kid on the back – but no kid. All we say was a crinkled up cement pan with the bottom ripped out, a couple of Campbell soup cans that were used for headlights, and one beat up black and white Jack Purcell’s Converse sneaker. At the other end of that sneaker was the neighborhood daredevil, and he wasn’t looking to good. It took us a while to get down the embankment, but we dug the kid out and brought him home. He ended up in the hospital with a hip injury.

Later on in life the kid became a politician. For the state of things in Massachusetts – it figures.

Coach B.

Some great stories and insight about that time period in here I’ve enjoyed reading this immensely.

Along the same lines as the rocket sled experience, there was a program on TV called “The twenty First Century”, hosted by a man by the name of walter Cronkite. As an introduction to the show, it showed what it looked like, from a rocket’s perspective, looking down at the ground as the rocket blasted off.

One of our neighborhood kids used his dad’s Bell and Howell 8mm movie camera to try and get the same effect. The kid got a hold of a big plastic bag of sorts, filled it with helium – after we all took a deep breath of the stuff and sang “ Ding Dong the wicked witch is dead. "

His dad’s 8mm movie camera was tied to the bottom, pressed the on button, taped down to hold it on, and then the entire thing was airborne.
We were all so surprised at it rate of climb that we forgot to hold the line that keep the thing from getting out of reach. Well, it did.

A few weeks after, the camera was returned along with a role of developed film. The balloon and camera finally came down and got into the hands of some college students. They were nice enough to return the camera, but not after taking the liberty of filming some stuff. I met my buddy in grade school and he told me … “ you gotta see this!”
So, that afternoon after school I and a few other kids all gathered in his dad’s garage, some old rags covered the windows …. show time!

For the first time in my life, it dawned on me that girls were kind of neat, they weren’t just soft boys. And I owe it all to Walter Cronkite, Bell and Howell, a reel of 8mm movie tape, and the imagination of a group of college guys.

When I got out of the service I went to college under the GI bill, and yes, I can proudly say that same college is my alma marter.

Coach B.

I wanted to share the following and I thought, what better place than here on the :Apollo Thread…

I am on the email list of the Texas Baseball Ranch & Pitching Central. This isn’t an endorsement for their business but Jill Wolforth did author a little article titled, “Are You A Failure?” And I do endorse the kind of thinking suggested here:

Are You a Failure?

By Jill E. Wolforth

We finished our last 2012 Summer Elite Pitchers Bootcamp this past weekend. It was another great weekend with both pitchers and parents actively involved in soaking up all the information and workouts.

Time and time again people comment about how much they enjoyed the “Mindset” presentation. And I have to say I never get tired of it myself.

One of the topics discussed is “FAILURE”. For most people, when they hear or think of the word failure, it has a very negative connotation. Look at Webster’s dictionary. It defines failure as:

Omission of occurrence or performance; specifically; a failing to perform a duty or expected action.
Lack of success

Those definitions certainly don’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s actually the opposite. They create an internal negative emotion.

The goal in this week’s email is to encourage you to have a paradigm shift in your reaction/response to not only the word failure but when it occurs as well.

During the camps, my husband starts by giving people a new definition of failure. Quoting Henry Ford, “Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” How powerful is that?!

Yes I know when failure occurs it can knock you right on your butt at first and make you feel like you’ve been punched in the ribs, knocking the air right out of you. Get up! Tell yourself, “This is an opportunity for me to begin again…this time more intelligently.”

At the ranch we also say, “If you want to double your rate of success, double your rate of failure”. Golfer Tom Watson says it like this, “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” Think about it. The sooner you can determine what isn’t or doesn’t work, the sooner you can get to something that does work. Ask Thomas Edison. He failed over 10,000 times to create a light bulb. It’s said he didn’t view it as failure but rather success in finding ways it didn’t work. I’d say he simply began each time a little more intelligently.

Let me share with you a few other “Failures”.

Lucille Ball: She was dismissed from drama school with a note that read, “She’s too shy to put her best face forward.”

The Beattles: They were turned down by the Decca Recording Company who said “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out.”

Walt Disney: He was fired from a newspaper because they said “He lacked imagination and had no original ideas.”

Abraham Lincoln: He failed in business twice and was defeated in eight (8) elections.

Look at those names again; Lucille Ball, TheBeatles, Walt Disney, and Abraham Lincoln. I would say this is a pretty good list to have your name associated with.

My admission to you, I think I’m pretty good at persevering but I if I failed in eight elections, I think I’d start to get the idea that people didn’t want me representing them. Fortunately for all of us, Abraham Lincoln didn’t view these “failures” that way.

I hope starting this week; you’ll consider yourself in good company when you face the various challenges (“failures”) that will definitely come your way. Remember, they are simply opportunities to begin again…this time more intelligently. [/quote]

I thought of my father-in-law when I read this. He taught me this paradigm every day of his life. You see, he was born with a nearly useless left hand. Back in the day, there was no sympathy for a handicapped young man who couldn’t fight in his nation’s army or learn a valuable trade. He was put down and labeled damaged goods. He was not deterred. He was convinced that he could do anything a “normal” man could do. Because of his determination, he learned to be an electrician, joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and worked his entire life in construction. He taught me about electrical work but most of all he taught me patience and perseverance. Never accept another person’s paradigm for you. “So what? You prove them wrong.”

Great stories and insight Dino

Good stuff, Dino.

I once pulled my kid off of a team for a number of reasons - one of them being that the other coaches would not allow/accept failure during practices. Are you kidding me? That’s exactly when you want them to fail because that means they’re trying to do something new or push the envelope. But, no. The end result was the kids learned to play conservatively so as not to fail. They (both the kids and the coaches) didn’t realize that this was failure.

Not really. More like I flashed back to my youth. Of course, my wife will tell you I’m still childish. :roadkill: