Neil Armstrong visits Israel

Neil Amrstrong image
Former NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong answering children's questions on lunar travel at the National Science Museum.

Dateline: Haifa. 10 July 2007--Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on to the face of the moon, made his first ever visit to Israel last week as the guest of an Israeli investment company.

Armstrong, who was the NASA mission commander of Apollo 11, landed his lunar module on the moon's surface on 20 July 1969.

During his brief visit Armstrong addressed bankers in Tel Aviv, but before this the 76 year-old former astronaut went to Haifa's National Science Museum to answer questions from young children about his experiences in space. For about an hour children from age eight to thirteen were called up to a low podium and stood beside Armstrong and read their question in Hebrew. The question was translated into English and Armstrong's reply was then translated back into Hebrew. Several Arabic speaking Israeli children from Nazareth also had the opportunity to question Armstrong and their questions were translated into English and Hebrew.

Everybody in the museum was in awe of Armstrong, as it was not every day that one heard first hand what it was like to be the first man on the moon. As he left the crowded hall I had an opportunity to ask him one short question concerning his moon mission which always puzzled me. "When you landed on the moon and made your immortal statement, 'That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind', did you compose that yourself, or was it composed by NASA?"

"Yes, you have to blame me," he said with a smile and a twinkle in his eye.

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