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Death of a hero: the best coverage of Neil Armstrong's life

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Some of the best coverage of Neil Armstrong's death hasn't come in the form of obituaries of retrospectives, but in reprinted material from the Apollo 11 mission.

Footprints on the moon
Footprints on the moon

Legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong's death on Saturday provoked a storm of obituaries and retrospectives, all vying to provide the one, true account of the first man to walk on the Moon — but amid the clutter, a few pieces stood out. Time's obituary is a classic portrait which focuses on the steps leading up to the famous Apollo 11 mission, as well as Armstrong's later life, as much as the lunar landing itself. Equally great is Life's 1969 "To the Moon and Back" special edition, republished as a gallery on the Time site. While the text of the issue — disappointingly unavailable in Google's extensive scanned collection — is generally illegible, the images and captions are astounding. Finally, as a sobering reminder of the many dangers of the Apollo 11 mission, it's worth reading Richard Nixon's infamous "rest in peace" speech, thoughtfully linked to by Defense Tech. Prepared by speechwriter William Safire in case the astronauts were somehow unable to return from their destination, the text provides a painfully clear picture of the risks taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin:

[T]hey will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown. ... In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.