Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Giant loss for mankind

Neil Armstrong was one of those very rare human beings who are guaranteed to be remembered for as long as history is recorded.

Through being the first person to step onto another world - in his case the moon on July 20, 1969 - he was guaranteed immortality, at least in memory. His small step for man never really became the giant leap for mankind that space exploration promised, although space flight did create technological advances.

For a man with a world literally at his feet, Armstrong was a reluctant celebrity, and steadfastly and honourably refused to cash in on his place in history. Of Ulster Scots lineage he displayed much the stereotypical virtues of reticence alongside endeavour on behalf of others, but his pioneering spirit brought him to frontiers his forebears could not have dreamed of.

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