On June 13, 2008, my wife and I were driving home from a Washington party. The University of Edinburgh, my Alma Mater, had recognized the singular achievement of Neil Armstrong, and our Principal, Sir Timothy O’Shea, had conferred an honorary degree on him. Linda and I witnessed the event and then joined a small group hosted by the British Ambassador for a dinner in Armstrong’s honor. Linda sat next to the honoree and had a lively conversation with him. On that ride home, I asked her: “Why are you so excited about tonight’s event? We’ve been to a lot of Washington dinners over the years.” Her immediate reply was: “To be with Neil Armstrong, and to dine with the first person to walk on the moon, is to be with a real hero. It is to know someone who has gone where no one has ever gone before, and done what no one has ever done before.”

That says it all.

Neil Armstrong, you are The American Spirit! May you rest in peace.

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