I did not personally know Neil Armstrong, and for my 42 years on this planet, dreamed of the day I would be able to meet him. I regretfully never did get to meet him, and only really got to understand what he was able to accomplish by visting the Kennedy Space Center for the first time last year. So why the fascination and personal attachment to the man, simple. There is a reason why I have scrap books with tons of old clippings of Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. You see, back in the days, parents took pride in choosing a name for their child, whether it be after an important family member, or otherwise. For my parents, it was about capturing a moment that would have forever changed history, and putting that accomplishment and hope for future into a name, and passing it on to the next generation. With that, I was born in March 1970, and named after the greatest man to have walked the earth and moon, Neil !!! It was only growing up, that I realized the significance of that name, and what it meant. When I stood in front of those many historical stories, pictures and newspaper articles at the Kennedy Space Center last year, I read them with teary eyes, because of the connection I felt with this man that I had never met. I thought back to my time in High School, when I had a teacher who loved Astronomy, and brought in his powerful telescope to show to the class. He knew I wanted to be an Astronaut one day, or at the very least, an Astronomer as well. He made sure he told my parents about my passion for space, and that he believed that one day, I would most certainly follow in those famous footsteps for whom my name represented. I never did accomplish that large challenge, mainly because there was not much of a space program where I lived, but to this day, I kinda always wish that a NASA office would open locally, to allow me to finally live that dream and complete that urge. It was over the phone today, speaking with my dad, that I found out about Neil's passing, and it took a while to absorb the news. My dad saying, "your Godfather passed away". And I now find myself writing this article, to tell you what an impact this man has left, not only in all of our lives, but especially in mine. While I often have to explain my very english name to the local french canadiens who are not used to hearing such a name in the frech community, I am always proud to explain where it comes from and why I have it. Even just this year on a cruise with the family, I was pulled up on stage for a game with the ship's entertainment director, and when he asked me for my name, I was proud to say NEIL, named after the man that walked on the moon, and several days later, this cruise director would announce that same point during future ship events, and say, here is Neil, the man named after the lunar landing...
Neil Armstrong, thank you for your accomplishments, your inspiration, for allowing us to do great things (reaching Mars for example), and most importantly, for giving us a name to remember. You can be sure that I will continue to speak about you for generations to come, and people will always know, why my name is Neil !!
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