Paralympic Opening Ceremony

Tonight’s event will open with the words ‘O wonder! How many goodly creatures there are here’ from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as read by  actor Sir Ian McKellen, 73,  with a young actress playing the character of Miranda who will lead the audience through the ceremony. Six athletes will then ‘fly’ into tonight’s spectacular Paralympics opening ceremony in golden wheelchairs,  The dramatic scenes will be at the heart of the showpiece opening. Among those flying into the stadium in wheelchairs will be Britain’s greatest ever paralympian, 11-time champion Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, 43.

The ceremony, which is entitled Enlightenment, begins at 8.30pm and will kick-start 11 days of sport in front of unprecedented crowds – the event is on course to be the first sell-out Paralympic Games in history.Great Britain is hoping for a record haul of medals surpassing the 102 won in Beijing in 2008 as athletes are inspired by their home crowds, as happened during the Olympics. It is hoped that the Paralympics would be A ‘wonderful way to change the preconception of disabilities for good. Performers from The National Youth Theatre were also Flying the flag: as they marched through the streets surrounding the stadium in Stratford

The Opening Ceremony will also be a celebration of scientific achievements, and will include references to the Big Bang theory and the Large Hadron Collider, which earlier this year enabled physicists to confirm the existence of the Higgs Bosun or so-called  ‘God particle’ which gives all matter its mass.It will also feature world renowned scientist Professor Stephen Hawking. The 70-year-old Oxford-born academic, author of A Brief History Of Time,who is severely disabled from motor neurone disease  is said to be ‘thrilled’ to have been asked to take part in the ceremony and has filmed a pre-recorded message for spectators inside the Olympic Stadium.

A disabled dancer will also take part in tonight’s Paralympic Games opening ceremony despite falling out of her wheelchair and breaking her pelvis less than a week ago. Diana Morgan-Hill fell at her home on Sunday and even managed to make it through the dress rehearsal the same day along with 14 other wheelchair dancers.To help her get through the pain she is being given the drug Entonox, which is normally given to women in labour. Mrs Morgan-Hill, from Kensington, West London, danced with Boris Johnson for Strictly Come Dancing’s spin off, Dancing on Wheels, while filming with swimmer Mark Foster.According to her biography on the BBC she lost both her legs 19 years ago. She ran for a train but as she went to jump on board fell through the gap losing a leg.Her other leg was then run over by the train and she was electrocuted twice.

Others attending tonight include the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.Singers appearing will include blind soprano Denise Leigh, who performed four years ago in Beijing, and Beverley Knight, who officials say was chosen for her ‘stadium-filling voice’. The ceremony also features more than 3,000 volunteers, including 50 disabled performers who have been learning circus skills from scratch. The athletes will enter the stadium earlier than during the Olympics opening ceremony, sitting on the track to form part of the audience.

Lord Coe, head of London 2012, said: ‘the ceremony focuses on that extraordinary period in European history and the great intellectual revolution that took place between 1550 and 1720. Everything from Newton making sense of gravity and motion to Napier with logarithms and Harvey with blood circulation. ‘It’s really about ceilings, about human understanding, about limitations and the importance of knowledge. Local performers, including three East London disc jockeys, will also appear alongside international stars, and there will be a spectacular light display will be created by aeroplanes flown by disabled pilots.

A highlight near the show’s climax will come with the lighting of the Paralympic cauldron featuring athletes representing the past, present and future.Margaret Maughan, 84, a veteran of five Paralympics, is expected to play a pivotal part. The winner of Britain’s first Paralympic gold medal when she became archery champion at the inaugural 1960 Rome games, she has been unable to walk following a car accident in 1959. A teacher, she also won gold in the backstroke in Rome – her victory was almost guaranteed because she was the only competitor in the event – and competed in four further Paralympics, winning four more medals, including two golds. It is understood she will be joined during the lighting ceremony by David Clarke, 32, captain of Britain’s football five-a-side team and the most experienced member of the squad, and 24-year-old triathlete Joe Townsend, a Royal Marine Commando, who lost his legs in a Taliban bombing in Afghanistan.Townsend has already competed in the Ironman UK triathlon, and has set his sights on qualifying for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where the event will feature for the first time.Demand for tickets is expected to outstrip that of any previous Paralympics, with up to 215,000 spectators expected to visit the Olympic Park on most days.

Tribute to Ludwig Guttmann

Here is my tribute to the inspirational Jewish German neurosurgeon Sir Ludwig Guttmann, who saved many fellow Jews from Nazis before fleeing Germany and became the  founding father of the modern day Paralympics after WWII.

Born in the coal-mining district of Upper Silesia (now Poland) in 1899 to an orthodox Jewish family, he took a volunteer job at a local hospital for mining injuries when he was 18. He was particularly touched by the plight of one young miner he tended. This man had a fine physique but had broken his back in a mining accident.  He was paralysed from the waist down and the doctors held out no hope. The accepted method of treatment in those days was to encase patients in plaster and isolate them. They would die within weeks. This is what happened to that young man, who got a urinary infection and blood poisoning, and died within five weeks. Guttmann said later: ‘Although I saw many more victims suffering the same fate, it was the picture of that young man which remained indelibly fixed in my memory.’

After failing to find a job in paediatrics, he returned to Breslau and enrolled in the neurology and neurosurgery department. He continued at Freiburg, and developed an interest in physical training and sport.  By1933, Guttmann was director of Breslau’s Jewish hospital and gis growing reputation led to many offers to work abroad. He turned them all down — until Kristallnacht.

During Kristallnacht 1938,  Nazi stormtroopers unleashed their hatred on Jewish businesses, synagogues, shops and homes and arrested Up to 30,000 people across Germany who were then beaten, murdered or sent to concentration camps. So He instructed staff to admit Any traumatised Jews who turned up at his hospital that night, even if their injuries were too minor for an overnight stay. When the Gestapo arrived to round them up, he persuaded the officers that they were all too sick to leave, and in this way He saved 60 people from certain death in concentration camps.

He escaped Nazi Germany in 1939 and upon Arrival in the UK  He got a job a at the specialist Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, Bucks. where he Led an inspirational initiative to treat people who had become paralysed during World War  II and although there were many who thought his ideas fanciful. He tirelessly argued, though, that with proper treatment paraplegics could live full and rewarding lives and made such an impression, that in September 1943 the government asked him  to open a centre for spinal injuries, anticipating a rise in patients after the planned D-Day landings against Germany.  He agreed on the condition he could implement his own treatment theories, and picked Stoke Mandeville for his base, taking up his post on February 1, 1944, and Sport was a critical part of the therapeutic programme he designed for his patients.

Before 1948, when Britain last hosted the Olympics, patients with severed spinal cords were rarely rehabilitated, let alone to the extent that could compete in sports. With no active life to look forward to and poor care, they contracted infections, gave up hope, and were usually dead within weeks or months.But World War II meant hospitals were flooded with servicemen who had suffered this type of injury and Dr Guttmann was a passionate believer in the power of sport to inspire and motivate and transformed many people’s perceptions of disabilities so he introduced an athletic competition in the grounds of the hospital to coincide with the London Olympics in 1948. His first event was wheelchair archery. Though only 16 competitors took part, including two women, the notion of paraplegics becoming athletes was ground-breaking. The archery competition at Stoke Mandeville was the precursor to the modern Paralympics, giving war veterans with terrible injuries strength and confidence

His games gave birth to the Paralympics, and  changed the course of thousands of lives after he opened a news sports stadium for disabled athletes on a site adjoining Stoke Mandeville Hospital, near Aylesbury, in 1969. Guttmann ended up inspiring thousands — and changing the way the nation thinks about paraplegics.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

I like reading historical Fiction and recently read that The BBC is to adapt Novellist Hilary Mantel’s fantastic multi-award winning best-selling 2009 Booker Prize winning historical novel Wolf Hall,into a six-part mini-series. The book is the first in a planned trilogy; and the sequel Bring Up the Bodies was published in 2012

Set in England in the period from 1500 to 1535, Wolf Hall (which is named after the Seymour family seat of Wolfhall or Wulfhall near Burbage, just outside of Marlborough, Wiltshire,  is a fictionalized biography which follows the exploits of Thomas Cromwell, who rises from humble beginnings as the son of a brutal blacksmith in the slums of Putney to become a mercenary, merchant and member of Parliament finally becoming the right-hand man of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, adviser to the King, After surviving Wolsey’s fall from grace Cromwell eventually takes his place as the most powerful of Henry’s ministers, during this time he oversaw Henry’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, was present during the religious upheavals of the Protestant reformation, the English church’s break with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries.

The story exposes the political machinations of Henry’s court and the vicious realities of the court of Henry VIII, Cromwell’s manipulation of the king and the court and how he re-shaped English politics and the balance of power. The story has more betrayals, affairs, alliances and scheming than a soap opera and also shows the nation on the brink of disaster and the very real threat of civil war looming large because the ageing king has no male heir.

I would also like to see an adaptation of her follow-up novel Bring Up The Bodies or possibly C.J.Sansom’s Shardlake series of books, or maybe after Having enjoyed Pillars of the Earth, starring Ian McShane, a TV adaptaion of World Without End by Ken Follett.

Tribute to Sir John Betjeman CBE

Being a great admirer of English poet, writer and broadcaster Sir John Betjeman, CBE., who was born 28 August 1906, I thought I woould pay tribute. He was a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture. He Started his career as a journalist, and ended it as one of the most popular British Poets Laureates and a much-loved figure on British television. Betjeman’s early schooling was at the local Byron House and Highgate School, where he was taught by the poet T. S. Eliot. After this, he boarded at the Dragon School preparatory school in North Oxford and Marlborough College, a public school in Wiltshire. In his penultimate year, he joined the secret ‘Society of Amici’ in which he was a contemporary of both Louis MacNeice and Graham Shepard. While at school, his exposure to the works of Arthur Machen won him over to High Church Anglicanism, a conversion of importance to his later writing and conception of the arts.

Betjeman studied at the newly created School of English Language and Literature at Magdalen College ,  Oxford University ,where he dedicated most of his time to cultivating his social life, his interest in English ecclesiastical architecture, and to private literary pursuits.He also had a poem published in Isis, the university magazine and was editor of the Cherwell student newspaper during 1927. His first book of poems was privately printed with the help of fellow-student Edward James. Betjeman left Oxford without a degree but he had made the acquaintance of people who would influence his work. After university, Betjeman worked briefly as a private secretary, school teacher and film critic for the Evening Standard. He was employed by the Architectural Review between 1930 and 1935, as a full time assistant editor, following their publishing of some of his freelance work. At this time, while his prose style matured, he joined the MARS Group, an organisation of young modernist architects and architectural critics in Britain.

The Shell Guides, were developed by Betjeman and Jack Beddington, a friend who was publicity manager with Shell-Mex Ltd. The series aimed to guide Britain’s growing number of motorists around the counties of Britain and their historical sites. They were published by the Architectural Press and financed by Shell. By the start of World War II 13 had been published, of which Cornwall (1934) and Devon (1936) had been written by Betjeman. A third, Shropshire, was written with and designed by his good friend John Piper in 1951.

Upon the outbreak of World War II In 1939, Betjeman was rejected for active service but found work with the films division of the Ministry of Information. During his time he wrote a number of poems based on his experiences in “Emergency” World War II Ireland including “The Irish Unionist’s Farewell to Greta Hellstrom in 1922” (actually written during the war) which contained the refrain “Dungarvan in the rain”. “After the war Betjaman published more work and By 1948 he had published more than a dozen books. Five of these were verse collections and The popularity of the book prompted Ken Russell to make a film about him, John Betjeman: A Poet in London which was first shown in England on BBC’s Monitor programme. He continued writing guidebooks and works on architecture during the 1960s and 1970s and started broadcasting. He was also a founder member of The Victorian Society (1958). In 1973 he made a widely acclaimed television documentary for the BBC called Metro-land, directed by Edward Mirzoeff. Betjeman was also fond of the ghost stories of M.R. James and supplied an introduction to Peter Haining’s book M.R. James – Book of the Supernatural.

Betjeman also wrote a great many poems which are often humorous and in broadcasting he exploited his bumbling and fogeyish image. His wryly comic verse is accessible and has attracted a great following for its satirical and observant grace. Betjeman s religious beliefs come through in some of his poems .Betjeman became Poet Laureate in 1972, the first Knight Bachelor ever to be appointed (the only other, Sir William Davenant, had been knighted after his appointment). This role, combined with his popularity as a television performer, ensured that his poetry eventually reached an  enormous audience.

Betjeman also had a fondness for Victorian architecture and was a founding member of Victorian Society and also wrote on this subject in First and Last Loves (1952) and more extensively in London’s Historic Railway Stations in 1972, defending the beauty of the twelve of London’s railway stations. He led the campaign to save Holy Trinity, Sloane Street in London when it was threatened with demolition in the early 1970s. He fought a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to save the Propylaeum, known commonly as the Euston Arch, London. He is considered instrumental in helping to save the famous façade of St Pancras railway station, London and was commemorated when it re-opened as an international and domestic terminus in November 2007. He called the plan to demolish St Pancras a “criminal folly”. ” On the re-opening St Pancras in 2007, a statue of Betjeman was commissioned from curators Futurecity. A proposal by artist Martin Jennings was selected from a shortlist. The finished work was erected in the station at platform level, including a series of slate roundels depicting selections of Betjeman’s writings.Betjeman responded to architecture as the visible manifestation of society’s spiritual life as well as its political and economic structure. He attacked speculators and bureaucrats for what he saw as their rapacity and lack of imagination.

Betjeman sadly passed away  on 19 May 1984, aged 77 and is buried half a mile away in the churchyard at St Enodoc’s Church. During his life  he recieved many honours including the Queen’s Medal for Poetry, CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), Companion of Literature, the Royal Society of Literature, a Knight Bachelor he was also made an Honorary Member, the American Academy of Arts in 1973 and was made poet Laureate in 1972. To commemorate  Betjeman A memorial window, designed by John Piper, is set in All Saints’ Church, Farnborough, Berkshire, where Betjeman lived in the adjoining Rectory and there is also The Betjeman Millennium Park at Wantage in Oxfordshire as well as a statue of John Betjeman at St Pancras station by sculptor Martin Jennings which was unveiled in 2007. In addition The John Betjeman Young People’s Poetry Competition was inaugurated in 2006 to celebrate Betjeman’s centenary. The competition is open to 11–14 year olds living anywhere in the British Isles and the Republic of Ireland. The spirit behind the competition is to encourage young people to understand and appreciate the importance of place.

Bridgnorth Music and Arts festival (Tuesday 28th – Thursday 30th August)

Here’s what is happening at the Festival during the week, then it all gets exciting again next weekend (I can hardly wait)

Tuesday, 28 August
20:30 Charity Quiz @ the White Lion
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Wednesday, 29 August
19:00 Ukulele Strummers@Woodberry Down
20:00 Acoustic Evening @ The Jewel of the Severn (Wetherspoons)
20:00 Poetry Evening @ Costa Coffee
21:00 Open Mic Night @ The Bell and Talbot
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Thursday, 30 August
21:00 Cooper and Davies Open Mic Special @ The Bear
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Bridgnorth Music & Arts Festival – Monday August 27

Gallery Bridgnorth @ The Kings Head & Stable Bar

Turn back the Clock 

Turn Back the Clock takes place On August bank holiday Monday 27th in the Castle grounds Bridgnorth,  and will be an enjoyable afternoon of songs and memories of yesteryear, giving people who remember Bridgnorth in the old days  an opportunity to reminisce  about what the town was like in the past .

Organ Recital – From 11:00am – 12:00pm by William Nicholson @ St Mary’s Church

Live music down on the Quayside – From 12:00pm – 6:00pm at the Quayside Stage against the amazing backdrop of the River Severn. Featuring

  • 12:00 Rhi Moore
  • 1:30 The Moonshine Runners
  • 13:00 The Hair Thieves
  • 13:30 Num Nums
  • 14:00 Claire Diamond
  • 14:30 Midset Buka
  • 15:10 Matt Barker
  • 15:40 Thomson Oldeman
  • 16:30 ToyPOP
  • 17:10 The State of Things

Elsewhere

  • 2:00pm – 3:00pm Moonshine Runners @ The Bear
  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm Rhi Moore and Friends @ The Bear
  • 5:00pm – 7:00pm Mike Holloway/HMV Band @ The Bassa Villa
  • 6:00pm – 7:00pm Simon Davies & Rob Cooper @ Gabrielle’s Wine Bar
  • 9:00pm – 11:00pm HMV Band @ The George

Born 27th August 1954 – Derek Warwick, English race car driver
Born 27th August 1959 – Gerhard Berger, Austrian race car driver and team owner
Born 27th August 1976 – Mark Webber, Australian racing driver

One giant leap for mankind and one small tribute to Neil Armstrong

Best known for being the first person to walk on the Moon, the American astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor and United States Naval Aviator Neil Alden Armstrong sadly passed away on 25th August 2012. so I thought I would pay tribute to this remarkable man.

Born August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong’s love for flying started from an early age when his father took 2-year-old Neil to the Cleveland Air Races. Later when he was 6, he experienced his first airplane flight in Warren, Ohio, when he and his father took a ride in a Ford Trimotor, also known as the “Tin Goose. Neil attended Blume High School. Armstrong began taking flying lessons at the county airport, and was just 15 when he earned his flight certificate, before he had a driver’s license. Armstrong was active in the Boy Scouts and he eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout. As an adult, he was recognized by the Boy Scouts of America with its Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Buffalo Award.

In 1947, Armstrong began studying aerospace engineering at Purdue University,and was also accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but the only engineer he knew (who had attended MIT) dissuaded him from attending, telling Armstrong that it was not necessary to go all the way to Cambridge, Massachusetts, for a good education. successful applicants committed to two years of study, followed by three years of service in the United States Navy, then completion of the final two years of the degree. At Purdue, he earned average marks in his subjects, with a GPA that rose and fell during eight semesters. He was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1955, and, from the University of Southern California in 1970, a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering Armstrong held honorary doctorates from a number of universities.

Armstrong’s call-up from the Navy, lasted almost 18 months. during this time he qualified for carrier landing aboard the USS Cabot and USS Wright and two weeks after his 20th birthday, Armstrong was informed by letter he was a fully qualified Naval Aviator. His first assignment was to Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 7 at NAS San Diego (now known as NAS North Island). Two months later he was assigned to Fighter Squadron 51 (VF-51), an all-jet squadron, and made his first flight in a jet, an F9F-2B Panther, on January 5, 1951. In June, he made his first jet carrier landing on the USS Essex and was promoted the same week from Midshipman to Ensign. By the end of the month, the Essex had set sail with VF-51 aboard, bound for Korea, where they would act as ground-attack aircraft. Armstrong first saw action in the Korean War on August 29, 1951, as an escort for a photo reconnaissance plane over Songjin and also flew armed reconnaissance over the primary transportation and storage facilities south of the village of Majon-ni,in total Armstrong flew 78 missions over Korea, for which he received the Air Medal for 20 combat missions, a Gold Star for the next 20, and the Korean Service Medal and Engagement Star.

Armstrong left the Navy at the age of 22 on August 23, 1952, and became a Lieutenant, Junior Grade in the United States Naval Reserve. He resigned his commission in the Naval Reserve on October 21, 1960.As a research pilot, Armstrong served as project pilot on the F-100 Super Sabre A and C variants, F-101 Voodoo, and the Lockheed F-104A Starfighter. He also flew the Bell X-1B, Bell X-5, North American X-15, F-105 Thunderchief, F-106 Delta Dart, B-47 Stratojet, KC-135 Stratotanker, and was one of eight elite pilots involved in the paraglider research vehicle program. After his service with the Navy, Armstrong returned to Purdue, where he graduated in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering.Armstrong also completed a master of science degree in aeronautical engineering at the University of Southern California.

Following his graduation from Purdue, Armstrong decided to become an experimental research test pilot. He applied at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base , now known as the Dryden Flight Research Center, where he logged over 900 flights. He graduated from Purdue University and the University of Southern California.Armstrong’s first flight in a rocket plane was in the Bell X-1B, he later flew the North American X-15, and also flew with Chuck Yeager in a Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. He also flew a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, during his career, Armstrong flew more than 200 different models of aircraft.

In 1958, he was selected for the U.S. Air Force’s Man In Space Soonest program. In November 1960, Armstrong was chosen as part of the pilot consultant group for the Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar, a military space plane; and in 1962, he joined the NASA Astronaut Corp and was named as one of six pilot-engineers who would fly the space plane when it got off the design board. As a participant in the U.S. Air Force’s Man In Space Soonest and X-20 Dyna-Soar human spaceflight programs. Armstrong’s first spaceflight was the NASA Gemini 8 mission in 1966, for which he was the command pilot, becoming one of the first U.S. civilians in space. On this mission, he performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft with pilot David Scott. The last crew assignment for Armstrong during the Gemini program was as backup Command Pilot for Gemini 11, announced two days after the landing of Gemini 8. Having already trained for two flights, Armstrong was quite knowledgeable about the systems and was more in a teaching role[49] for the rookie backup Pilot, William Anders. The launch was on September 12, 1966 with Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon on board, who successfully completed the mission objectives, while Armstrong served as CAPCOM.

Armstrong’s second and last spaceflight came After he served as backup commander for Apollo 8, and he was offered the post of commander of Apollo 11, as 8 orbited the Moon. the Apollo 11 launch much noisier than the Gemini 8 Titan II launch – and the Apollo CSM was relatively roomy compared to the Gemini capsule. The objective of Apollo 11 was to land safely rather than to touch down with precision on a particular spot.On this mission, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to the lunar surface and spent 2½ hours exploring, while Michael Collins remained in orbit in the Command Module. The landing on the surface of the moon occurred at 20:17:39 UTC on July 20, 1969 The first words Armstrong intentionally spoke to Mission Control were, “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” and Although the official NASA flight plan called for a crew rest period before extra-vehicular activity, Armstrong requested that the EVA be moved to earlier in the evening, Houston time. Once Armstrong and Aldrin were ready to go outside, Eagle was depressurized, the hatch was opened and Armstrong made his way down the ladder first. At the bottom of the ladder, Armstrong said “I’m going to step off the LEM now” (referring to the Apollo Lunar Module). He then turned and set his left boot on the surface at 2:56 UTC July 21, 1969, then spoke the famous words “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”When Armstrong made his proclamation, Voice of America was rebroadcast live via the BBC and many other stations worldwide. The estimated global audience at that moment was 450 million listeners, out of a then estimated world population of 3.631 billion people. On their Return to Earth. The lunar module met and docked with Columbia, the command and service module. The three astronauts then returned to Earth and splashed down in the Pacific ocean, to be picked up by the USS Hornet .

In May 1970, Armstrong traveled to the Soviet Union to present a talk at the 13th annual conference of the International Committee on Space Research; after arriving in Leningrad from Poland, he traveled to Moscow where he met Premier Alexei Kosygin. He was the first westerner to see the supersonic Tupolev Tu-144 and was given a tour of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, which Armstrong described as “a bit Victorian in nature”. At the end of the day, he viewed delayed video of the launch of Soyuz 9. Armstrong also received many honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy, the Sylvanus Thayer Award, the Collier Trophy from the National Aeronautics Association, and the Congressional Gold Medal. The lunar crater Armstrong, 31 mi (50 km) from the Apollo 11 landing site, and asteroid 6469 Armstrong are named in his honor. Armstrong was also inducted into the Aerospace Walk of Honor and the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame. Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crewmates were the 1999 recipients of the Langley Gold Medal from the Smithsonian Institution. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon along with Collins and Aldrin, the Congressional Space Medal of Honor by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009 and In a 2010 Space Foundation survey, Armstrong was ranked as the #1 most popular space hero

On November 18, 2010, at the age of eighty, Armstrong said in a speech during the Science & Technology Summit in The Hague, Netherlands, that he would offer his services as commander on a mission to Mars if he were asked, sadly though Neil Armstrong Tragically passed away On August 25, 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the age of 82 due to complications from blocked coronary arteries, but leaves an amazing legacy behind him.