St. Mary students honor Neil Armstrong
Carlos Peramo, an eighth-grader at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School, is already an astronomy buff and has watched Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon on video many times.
He was pleased Friday when the school honored the late astronaut, who died Aug. 25 and was eulogized by hundreds of people at a private service in Cincinnati Friday morning.
St. Mary administrators lowered the school flag to half mast. A presidential order from President Barack Obama that honored Armstrong was read aloud to the entire student body.
“I’ve read so much about him,” Carlos said. “It’s so cool what he did when we were in the space race with the Soviet Union.”
Carlos recently moved to Aiken from Texas, where he often visited the Houston Space Center. He also has visited Cape Canaveral and has seen a restored Saturn 5 at the Kennedy Space Center.
“I enjoy space and always wonder what’s out there,” Carlos said. “I look through my telescope and it’s a mystery and it’s fun.”
St. Mary Principal Peggy Wertz said she wanted the students to become familiar with Armstrong and his lasting legacy.
It’s been 43 years since millions of people throughout the world watched on television as Armstrong took his historic first steps on the moon. Even some of the children’s parents don’t remember that day in 1969, Wertz said.
Two other eighth-graders, Vince Ylagen and Morgan Mayes, were excited about the opportunity to address the student body. Vince read Obama’s presidential order to fly the flag at half mast, which included Armstrong’s famous statements – “The Eagle has landed,” and “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.”
Morgan read a remembrance and a prayer in honoring the astronaut. She also cited a statement from Armstrong’s family in announcing his death a week ago. It said in part: “The next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down on you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”
Morgan was impressed with his humbleness, that Armstrong never sought the spotlight.
“He was a very brave man for going to the moon,” Vince said.