(WTVM) - I’m currently reading the book “First Man”, the inspiring story of Neil Armstrong’s life, the first man on the moon.
It’s a compelling book that I highly recommend, especially because of the many until now untold stories about Armstrong, someone who never craved the spotlight, yet found himself on the biggest stage in the galaxy.
The book “First Man” is a triumph for its author, too, a retired Auburn history professor named James Hansen.
Hansen recorded fifty hours of interviews with Armstrong, much of it transcribed by two Auburn students back in 2005.
Hansen was Armstrong’s only authorized biographer.
Now Hansen’s book has been turned into a movie, which we can all see in theaters October 12th. If anyone doubts the idea of American exceptionalism, they need to learn the story of Neil Armstrong. He lived exceptionalism.
He piloted bombers in dozens and dozens of high-risk missions during the Korean War. He later strapped himself into a small test vehicle traveling at enormous speed as a test pilot.
Then he became an astronaut on Apollo 11 and made history in 1969.
It was such a dangerous mission, there was no guarantee Armstrong and his crew would make it back from the moon. Even experts conceded that the mission had a 50-50 chance of succeeding.
President Richard Nixon’s speechwriter actually prepared two statements back then, one congratulating the astronauts if the landing was a success.
The other statement mourned their loss and bravery in the event they crashed into the moon or could never return home. Armstrong’s story is exceptional because he was an exceptional, brave, brilliant and humble man.
Hansen’s book says Neil was too modest to ever call himself the “First Man.”
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