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The very first words ever spoken by a human being who happened to be on the face of the moon at the time. The words were spoken by Neil Armstrong about 250,000 nautical miles from Earth, standing near a large crater dubbed the sea of tranquility.

The Apollo 11 mission was the first successful lunar landing, orchestrated by those miracle workers at NASA. What began as a space race between the US and Russia and took close to a decade to achieve, culminated with this famous flight, and those famous words. It began with a picture perfect liftoff on July 16th, 1969. There were a few close calls and the usual glitches, but four days later they were on the moon. The phrase "The Eagle has landed" is another famous phrase that came out of the mouth of Neil Armstrong.

Oh. Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins were also there, but they didn't say anything that later got branded to T-shirts and sampled into rap music. There is some dispute as to whether or not he said the "a" but it's just one letter. The above quote is what Armstrong meant to say according to the NASA.gov website, whether he actually got the "a" out or not, it's rather like splitting hairs.

The context of the statement is what matters. Armstrong wished to convey that what he did at that moment was perhaps the action of one man; A man, but the ramifications of that small step meant that Mankind as a whole had successfully accomplished the greatest endeavour it had ever undertaken. It was a statement of both grandeur and humility. Armstrong was refusing to take all the credit. There were many men who helped him achieve that step. He was thanking them with those words.
I'm sorry, Zach, but I've got to call you on this one.

This was, in fact, the words that Neil Armstrong was supposed to have said, but he made a mistake. What he actually said was:

"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Note the lack of the "a" before the word "man". By doing so, he actually changed the meaning of the sentence into something that makes much less sense. Of course, everyone can see what the meaning was supposed to be, and it all comes out being equal in the end.

I can't believe he messed up the line. I mean, it's not like he was under any pressure, was he?

Did Neil Armstrong muff his lines?

Well, yes and no.

The exact words (and especially, whether that little "a" got left out, or not) have been the subject of much debate. At various times, both Armstrong and NASA have issued self-contradictory statements.

In one version, Armstrong inadvertently left out the "a", in another, the particle was lost in static. I've listened to it repeatedly (ever since I heard it live, as a child), and I've not been able to make up my mind. I don't think there's static, but the sound quality is pretty iffy, so....your guess is as good as mine.

Of course, conspiracy nuts would say that the whole thing was recorded in a studio, anyway....

November was cloudy this year, but the sun kept vigil

just below the horizon. There was a pile of felled leaves

on the front lawn of an old cathedral. I saw an elderly man

eyeing the pile with the stained glass longing of yellow eyes.

“If I were a young man...” he assured me. I pondered this statement

in a year of silence before replying, “the old never get younger

and the young always get older so the old and the young must live

as if today were the first last day of the rest of their lives.

Its really quite clear.” The man creaked his ancient joints in accord

and burned holes in the leaves with his magnifying glass stare.

With sudden urgency he dropped the cane that had supported

seventy two years of weight and dove gracelessly

into the foliage. Just as his head reemerged from the autumnal pool,

I knew. His bifocal lenses had been lost to the leaves and he skipped home

to his mother, who would be worried sick by now.

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