In reflecting on the passing of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, a thought occurred to me. After reassuring it that others might someday join it, I mulled it over a little while.
Although Armstrong was a combat pilot in Korea and a test pilot for many years before joining the space program, he always thought of himself as an engineer first. He told the National Press Club in 2000 that “I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy
engineer, born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in steam
tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace and
propelled by compressible flow.”
Though deep in the '60s, he eschewed both paisley and protest and was much a product of his small-town Ohio upbringing as his engineering background.
Something like a million people probably claim they were at Woodstock; quite a few more than make the same kind of claim to having been at Canaveral when Apollo 11 lifted off.
But Mayberry and math class put men on the moon. Hashish and Haight-Ashbury had them staring at their navels.
When it comes to remembering what's important about the 1960s, I think we're doing it wrong.