CINCINNATI - "I couldn't agree more with everything that was said today. Especially the part about his humilty. Neil Armstrong", Bob Castellini, Reds CEO, insisted, "was one of the most humble people I've ever known. I am certainly going to miss him."
The Reds CEO's sentiments were echoed by many who had gathered on the Camargo Club's patio Friday afternoon, where family and friends gathered after the memorial service for the American icon who passed away last Saturday.
There was an appropriate solemnity to the occasion but periodic outbursts of laughter from a knot of his friends, recalling a favorite Neil moment, seemed just as fitting. He was after all a man who enjoyed life, his family, his friends, a good story and its teller.
And story tellers were in ample supply Friday afternoon. All with a tale, tall and small about their departed friend. United States Senator Rob Portman and Charles S. Mechem provided the eulogies during the service. And both were spot on in their portrayals of Neil as a good and decent man, who by dint of hard work and unspoken courage, found himself at the center of an extraordinary undertaking. And who in the aftermath, with his legendary reluctance to make his 'giant step for man' anything other than a collaborative effort, proved to have been the perfect man for the mission and the moment.
Unfortunately that reluctance to talk about his professional exploits was misinterpreted by some as remoteness. In our reality show, "look at me world", they somehow wanted Neil to comport himself like a big deal. But he never wavered.
Strangely people will abide that in other noteworthy individuals.
Steve Carlton was notorious for refusing to sign autographs. Same for Joe Dimaggio and especially Ted Williams. Ironically, the baseball legend's Korean War wing-man, Senator John Glenn was among Friday's mourners.
Now 91, he appeared physically diminished by Neil's passing, yet ramrod straight in the certitude that this world and perhaps others beyond, are and will be better for the life, the courage and legacy bequeathed us all by his deceased friend and colleague. Our condolences to Neil's family and many, many friends.
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