Neil Armstrong was a hero. He never sought public adulation. He was a pilot, an engineer, a teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather and a mentor. His qualities and his skills enabled him to become the first person chosen to land on another celestial body, our moon.
A reserved person Armstrong never flew in space after returning from the moon. Within a year of that fateful mission he had left NASA and was back in his native state of Ohio and lived his life in Cincinnati where he would become a pilar of the community. Armstrong said he never dreamed of going to the moon, he just loved flying.
Those who knew him best had these thoughts to say on his passing.
Statement from the Family of Neil A. Armstrong
"We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures.
Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend.
Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut. He also found success back home in his native Ohio in business and academia, and became a community leader in Cincinnati.
He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits.
As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of good will from people around the world and from all walks of life.
While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.
For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."
Senator and Former Astronaut John Glenn
"When I think of Neil, I think of someone who for our country was dedicated enough to dare greatly."
"I am very saddened to learn of the passing of Neil Armstrong today. Neil and I trained together as technical partners but were also good friends who will always be connected through our participation in the Apollo 11 mission. Whenever I look at the moon it reminds me of the moment over four decades ago when I realized that even though we were farther away from earth than two humans had ever been, we were not alone."
"Besides being one of America's greatest explorers, Neil carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all. When President Kennedy challenged the nation to send a human to the moon, Neil Armstrong accepted without reservation.
"As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong. We mourn the passing of a friend, fellow astronaut and true American hero."
James Hansen, author of First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong
"All of the attention that ... the public put on stepping down that ladder onto the surface itself, Neil never could really understand why there was so much focus on that."
"Today, Neil's spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown - including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure - sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step."
Marc Garneau, MP, Former Astronaut and President of the Canadian Space Agency
"Neil Armstrong, like Sally Ride, was not a person who sought the camera or the microphone. Unassuming and grounded despite what he had done."
And commenting on the landing on the moon, Garneau said "It was a beautiful moon-lit night and I was seized by this historical moment and I didn't really believe that it was possible. Of course, this was a great achievement, the first human being to set foot on another celestial body."