Once in a blue moon

Published 12:47 am Friday, August 31, 2012

Tonight the world will be treated to a second sighting of a full moon within a single calendar month — a phenomena called a blue moon. There’s nothing blue about a blue moon, this moon will be whatever color particulates in the atmosphere color it.
While the phrase “once in a blue moon” has led us to believe blue moons are a rare event, they’re really not: the last one happened Dec. 31, 2009; the next will occur on July 31, 2015.
Regardless of the blue moon’s relative frequency, tonight’s blue moon is special simply because it occurs on the day that Neil Armstrong — one of the few men who has actually been to moon, the very first man to set foot on that lunar landscape — is laid to rest.
Armstrong’s family refers to him as “a reluctant American hero (who) served his nation proudly as a Navy fighter pilot, test pilot and astronaut.”
He never courted the limelight and had no interest in capitalizing on his hero status for fame, fortune or to enter the political arena. He lamented the budget cuts to space exploration happening in the current economic climate. Buzz Aldrin called Armstrong the best pilot he ever knew.
In a statement this week, the family of Neil Armstrong made an interesting suggestion to all who wish to remember him: “For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
Once in a blue moon, we get a modest, accomplished, reluctant hero who leads through service to his country and mankind.
This year, we get 13 moons instead of the usual 12.
Mr. Armstrong, this one’s for you.