Neil Armstrong, one of the most celebrated American astronauts of all time, was born in August 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. Before becoming an astronaut, Neil Armstrong was a well-known naval aviator and aircraft test pilot. In addition to this, he was also a university lecturer and one of the most famous aerospace engineers.
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As a result of his achievements in the aviation industry, he received numerous golden awards such as the Presidential Medal Award and the Congressional Award. After working for NASA for 4 years from 1962, he made his first space flight in 1966, and three years later, he made the historic spaceflight to the moon. In his life, he married twice and had three children, namely Eric, Karen, and Mark (Byers 14-29 and Zemlicka 36-46).
Neil Armstrong’s Influences
Neil Armstrong made the debut lunar excursion module into the moon a progress he described as a small step for himself but contributing a big leap for all humanity. Because of his successful voyage, many realized that there is possibility in anything. By being the first person to walk in the moon, he raised many people’s hopes and dreams, as well as enlightened many about life on a different planet. He also inspired many to the path of astronomy and engineering.
Neil Armstrong left a lasting legacy, because presently there are numerous learning institutions, roads, and organizations that have adopted either his name or the name of the spacecraft that he used. For example, as a sign of acknowledging his contributions to the engineering world, the Purdue University named a hall of engineering after him (Dixon-Engel and Jackson 55-78).
Alexis de Tocqueville on Neil Armstrong
Alexis de Tocqueville was a man who believed in liberty and equality, although he created a number of judicious predictions, especially when it came to the United States (De-Tocqueville 10-27). If he were born in Neil Armstrong’s time, more so during Armstrong’s maiden voyage to the moon, he would have made several astute predictions in relation to the implication of man landing on the moon.
Although some scholars have disputed his theories, most predictions such as the aftermath of acrimony, which he sighted was to happen if slaves were set free have come to pass just the way he predicted.
Neil Armstrong’s Achievements
Neil Armstrong was instrumental in the investigation of the Apollo 13 crash and he was able to recreate a comprehensive sequence of events that occurred before the crash. During this, he was also noted to have differed over the re-designing of the oxygen tanks, which was a factor under contention.
Armstrong was also appointed as spokesperson for Chrysler, a leading car manufacturer and even featured in some of its advertisements. In addition, he was also made spokesman for other leading influential companies in the United States. In his life, he was also a member of different organizations’ boards, for example, the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Company. In the year 2010, Neil Armstrong went into the acting arena and was the voice of a character in a science fiction animated movie (NASA 1).
Neil Armstrong’s Death
The untimely passing way of Armstrong occurred on August 25, 2012, after a failed bypass surgery to remove a blocked coronary artery. A proclamation made after his death labeled him as one of the greatest Americans who have ever lived. Because of his fame, his death saddened and devastated his fans and colleagues to a level that they held a tribute in his honor. As per his wishes, he was cremated and his ashes thrown to in the ocean in a nationally acknowledged ceremony in September 2012 (NASA 1).
Neil Armstrong and Ronald Takaki
In his book, A Different Mirror, Ronald Takaki aptly describes the different phases in the growth of the current American generation. Takaki begins by narrating his encounter with his taxi driver who is astonished by Takaki’s masterly in English. For the white taxi driver, it is not ordinary if anyone of Japanese origin speaks English so fluently. Takaki continues explaining to the driver his background and roots which are in the USA due to the settlements of his Asian ancestors. Takaki was himself born and raised in America (Takaki 7).
From his book, it is evident that you cannot tell the story of American success without mentioning the different nations from all over the world. The emphasis, therefore, is put on the fact that people of different races, color, and origin all united by the same creed settled in the United States – this was the creed of equality and oneness. Takaki delves into the different challenges, racial, economic and social segregations, especially experienced by the minorities in the USA.
The story of Armstrong resonates well with the history of US multicultural heritage and the narrative to which Takaki aptly describes. Neil Armstrong was born to Stephen Koenig and Viola Engel in the infamous Wapakoneta, Ohio. He was of German, Scottish, and Irish ancestry.
Armstrong was thus born into the baby boomers generation characterized by rejection of cultures, transcending cultural barriers and traditional economic segregations. Right from his birth, Armstrong transcended the racial and cultural segregations due to having three different racial ancestries.
E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime
In his book, Ragtime, E. L Doctorow adapts a unique historical narrative that blends important historical figures and landmarks into a framework of important events, ideas, and characters that are of great significance in US history. The plot is set around a white prosperous family residing in New York.
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The father in this family embarked on his first tour of the North Pole, and upon return gets a discontented wife. An abandoned child called Sarah together with her depressed mother comes into the white family’s setup, later joined by the child’s father, a musician who plays ragtime music on the white family’s derelict piano.
The child’s father does it so well that he enjoys the admiration of the white family until the day when he is humiliated by a racist comment from a white chief, which sets him on range and revenge. Later, the child’s mother dies, and the white man’s wife adopts the child (Doctorow 20-56).
As well, a Jewish single father struggles to raise his little daughter as well as to keep himself away from an unprofitable business of cutting paper silhouettes. The little girl’s beauty attracts the attention of Evelyn Nesbit who promises to support the Indian-Jewish family. However, the girl gets a little too scared, so she is ultimately taken out of the city (Doctorow17).
At the end of the narrative, Doctorow shows the surviving members of the three families having merged as one family to present an example of the American melting point. Armstrong’s existence, therefore, resonates well with Doctorow’s narrative. Armstrong represents a blend of three successful racial ancestries who have conjoined as the one in the setup presented in Doctorow’s novel.
The term community refers to a social unit of any given size that shares the same values and beliefs. The chore characteristics of a human community are belief, intention, needs, preferences, risks, and a variety of other conditions.
In the national context, the word ‘community’ thus extrapolates to an equal society that protects and promotes a true freedom and reasonable opportunities for all the people, which gives an equal chance for all to prosper. As such, an equal society anticipates and recognizes the people’s different needs, conditions, goals and objectives, and eliminates all the barriers that limit the equal opportunities of all the people (Christensen and Levinson 45).
Effect of the cultural value of individualism on our concept of national community and citizenship
Each individual contributes to a larger community. This ranges from the family, neighbors, friend, tribes, towns to counties and countries to form the world community that is so important in the life of a person. By understanding the importance of the individual entity in making up the wider community, one is able to integrate well with the others. This makes it easy to adopt well into the national community and live in harmony with each other.
A rich pluralistic and multicultural heritage makes it easier to break any perceived barriers to national integration and, therefore, improves the bonds between different multicultural communities uniting them into the one. By positively identifying with different cultural groups, a country is able to enjoy a vast network of values and ethical norms. The road to integration into a solid society becomes easier, and people are able to tolerate each other in the national context.
Ways in which baby boomers shaped the national community – Past and present
Baby boomers are associated with the redefinition of cultural values and traditions. The baby boomers always thought of themselves as people of different (special) generation who transformed the world in quite a number of ways. The baby boomers grew in a time of great social change that caused a great cultural shock faced by their generation due to the opposition between the reformists and conservatives.
The boomers have advanced a more liberal perspective towards such issues as gay marriages and abortion. It is important to note that the baby boomers grew up at a time when technology had significantly advanced having caused a greater media exposure. These in return contributed to a community of free spirited, experimental, and social cause oriented people. The civil rights movement, the cross-cultural relations, and the feminist movement are linked to and associated with the boomer generation (Putnam 78).
How baby boomers identify themselves as individuals in our multicultural society – past and present
Even though the baby boomer generation depicts a group that transcends cultural barriers and prejudices, most people in this generation still want to identify themselves with a certain style or character, which may lead to their separation from society. Individually, every baby boomer wants to lead the pack and be on top of his/her game. This is manifested from the way in which people work towards attaining uniqueness in their various spheres of life.
How are baby boomers shaping the future of America?
The baby boomers have adopted a rather liberal approach to how people in the United States do things. The situation in the USA is completely different from what it was in the past. The debate on abortion, same sex marriages still goes on. As well, people can now stand up and challenge authority and the status quo. Great representatives of the generation of baby boomers like Martin Luther King Junior fought and won in various battles.
Today, people can access equal resources and opportunities, and children born in different racial, cultural, and economic backgrounds have an equal chance of making it in life. It is worth noting that the current American president is an African American. It is now clear that the “American Dream”, as envisaged by Martin Luther King Junior, is within reach. These all were achieved due to the actions of the generation of baby boomers that continue shaping and forming the future of the USA.
Byers, Ann. Neil Armstrong: The first man on the Moon, New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2004. Print.
Christensen, Karen and David Levinson. Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2003. Print
De-Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America, Washington: Regnery Publishing Inc, 2003. Print.
Dixon-Engel, Tara, and Mike Jackson. Neil Armstrong: One giant Leap For Mankind, New York: Sterling Publishing Company, 2008. Print.
NASA. Neil A. Armstrong. NASA. August. 2012. Web. <https://www.nasa.gov/centers/glenn/about/bios/neilabio.html>
Putnam, Robert D.Bowling Alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008. Print
Takaki Ronald. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America (revised edition), New York: Little, Brown,2008. Print
Zemlicka, Shannon. Neil Armstrong,. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 2003. Print.