August 31, 2012
Photo story: Magic moment
Note Throughout the football season, we will take a weekly look at past images and the story behind them. We hope you will share your thoughts and memories as well.
I'm not one to fawn and drool over heroes. Both my parents enjoyed long careers as teachers. Growing up, I never had to look past the couch or the kitchen to find someone I admired for what they did everyday without any applause. Besides, if I were to get too excited by athletic achievements on the Ross-Ade Stadium turf, it could distract me from my job, recording those feats with my cameras.
But I was more than a little star-struck when Neil Armstrong (left) and Gene Cernan took the halftime field at Ross-Ade Stadium in 1999 to let us celebrate their greatness and our luck that at one point in their lives, they each chose to attend Purdue University. Armstrong, who died August 25, will forever be the man who first left a human footprint in the lunar soil in 1969. Now, 43 years later, his handprint is all over this university and his words are among the most often repeated in the history of the English language. And the lesser-known, but equally accomplished, silver-haired Cernan, was the last man to walk on the surface of the moon in 1972. He did it with the same grace and dignity (but less fanfare) than Armstrong exhibited four years earlier. I met both men on the same night during a recent campus event. I didn't ask for an autograph or a photograph. I said hello and thanked them for what their accomplishments have meant to me and to our university. For when they walked on the moon, they truly did it for all mankind and for every Boilermaker.
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