steepholm (steepholm) wrote,
steepholm
steepholm

Cincinnatus

It may be hard to achieve greatness, but laying aside its trappings is harder, and rarer. In all the tributes to Neil Armstrong, this is what impresses me most strongly. Yes, he was the first human being on the moon - but someone had to be, and, as he was keen to remind people, he didn't get there by himself. But retiring to teach engineering, and (still more like the noble Roman) tend his farm - these strike a deep and reverberant note. I like to think, given that, he'd have been amused to hear that NBC initially announced his death as that of Neil Young, and that in the Twittersphere some were bewailing that his death should come just days after he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

It always struck me as unfortunate that none of the boys in Thunderbirds was called Neil, Mr Tracy being a widower by the time of the moon landings; but perhaps Armstrong preferred it that way.
Tags: current affairs
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