When Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, he said "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Now what I was wondering was whether he just thought of it when he stepped on the moon, or was it a pre-planned phrase that was thought about prior to launch?

Here's an interesting one...

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong planted his left boot on the moon and said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Soon after it was announced that Neil Armstrong would be the first human to walk on the moon, people began to ask him what he would say when he stepped on the moon. His mail had been full of suggestions, including verses from the Bible and passages from Shakespeare. Everyone from the press to his simulator instructor had brought it up. Even Collins and Aldrin are on record of having asked him on the way to the moon.

If it hadn't been for the fact that everyone made such a big deal of it, Armstrong probably wouldn't have thought of it at all. But the world was asking for historic words for a historic occasion. After the Eagle had landed on the moon, Armstrong could delay no longer. He had to decide what he would say when he stepped off the lander. He began to think of the first step he would take from Eagle's ladder. He pondered the irony of such a small step being of such importance. It was here that Armstrong's famous words became final.

Submitted by Karin
(August 4, 1997)

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