Sunday, August 26, 2012

One Small Letter

Footprint on moon
One Small Step
Neil Armstrong's passing has re-invigorated the topic of whether he actually uttered the article 'a' in his famous sentence upon stepping on the moon. Everyone in the world heard him say, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Though Armstrong initially claimed he had used the article 'a'  before 'man,' he later conceded after hearing his recorded voice, that he had intended to say it, since grammatically it would make more sense in the context of the event. A few years ago, researchers studied the sound file of his [mis]quote and came to believe that there was a break in the file of several milliseconds.  And some scholars have even stated it might be simply an issue of dialect, that the 'a' might just have been combined with the 'for' as in 'fruh.' However, later analysis by other reseachers came to the conclusion that he simply misspoke. quotes Rick Houston, an Apollo historian, as refuting the claims that the 'a' was somehow garbled, stating it would be, "revisionist history" to believe so.

But whatever was said or intended to be said when Armstrong stepped on the moon, the discussion is dwarfed by the magnitude of the achievement of one human and all humankind. I for one will never forget the day the moon landing occurred as I watched it years ago as a child, riveted to the television with wonder and awe.

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