Keith's note:We first sent humans to the Moon for reasons that now seem more romantic and idealistic than than they are relevant to today's world. That said, this achievement transcended the politics of the day to become a moment in human history on a par with some of the greatest accomplishments our species has ever achieved. Whereas we once thought the notion of reaching the Moon was fanciful, we all too quickly made it reality.
Now, more than a generation later, half the world was not even alive when Neil Armstrong first set foot on the Moon. Indeed, a lot of people think it was faked in a TV studio. Those who are trying to send us back to the Moon lament that it may take longer to do it today than it did in the 1960s. Neil Armstrong entered this dialog toward the end of his life - his previous silence making his comments event more poignant. Now he is gone. While others who walked on the Moon will continue to speak out about space exploration, none will come close to evoking Armstrong's humble authority on the subject. It may be another generation before we see someone like Neil Armstrong step once again into history on another world. But regardless of where they step, Neil Armstrong will have symbolically been there before them.
On a personal note: this is my connection to Neil Armstrong. I carried some rocks in my pocket for a month - rocks that he picked up from the surface of the Moon. Ever wake up in the middle of the night to feel a lump under your chest only to realize that it is a Moon rock?