When Stephen and Viola moved their their three children to the two-story corner lot in Wapakoneta, Ohio in 1944, it became the place that Neil Armstrong holed up in his room to read everything he could about aviation.
It was at the local airport that Neil Armstrong learned to fly. In fact, he went on to get his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.
Neil went on the graduate from Blume High in Wapakoneta, then onto Purdue for college. He was a combat pilot during the Korean War, then went on to work for NASA. If it had wings, he could fly it.
Twenty-five years after moving to the home in Northwest Ohio, the small-town teenager, who dreamed of flying, took humanity’s first steps on the moon.
On this anniversary of those first steps taken in 1969, I’m reminded that every story of greatness started in a place where a young boy or girl had a dream that seems fantastical. Neil wanted to fly, but he reached for the stars and achieved something far beyond what he probably conceived in his mind when building a model airplane as a 13-year old.
Wapakoneta honors their native son with signs and markers throughout the town, highlighted by the Armstrong Air and Space Museum along I-75. But it is the home, which still sits in an unassuming neighborhood, that captures my interest most.
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