Clad in a gentle pink suit, cream blouse and pearls, she could have been the wife of a Methodist Minister or Headmistress at a conservative girls' school. But the demur package was only a veneer.
When Neil Armstrong passed away in August, for many people, including myself, his death marked not just the loss of a truly great American, but the end of an era.
Night after night, the television screen would show horrible skirmishes, bombings, killings and mayhem. I would never know if my husband was safe until the next day passed and I had heard nothing.
Heroes such as imagined by the ancient Greeks, and exemplified by individuals like Neil Armstrong -- whose actions shift paradigms and extend horizons -- are proving increasingly difficult to come by. At a number of levels this is due to the development of new technologies.
When I recall the things I admired most about Robert F. Kennedy -- his fire, his faith, his Quixote-like tilt against racial injustice -- I'm reminded that it's hard to find heroes like that anymore, especially during an election season.
It's been said that Obama lacks an overarching theme to give coherence to his daily choices. But thematic link has been there all along -- and it has been Obama's secret to success in the past.
If the U.S. seeks to send a manned space mission to Mars or reach similar such milestones by the end of the 2020s -- or sooner -- it need provide no more than it did in the 1960s: funding, political will, and presidential accountability.
In the history of humankind, only one person has a bio that includes "first on the moon": Neil Armstrong. And was he ever the right person for the job!
While Neil was immortalized in the pantheon of American heroes, Lance was stripped of both his integrity and cycling titles, leaving us with a sense of profound disappointment. A hero no more.
The first era of U.S. manned spaceflight ends, and we are the adults of this nation now. Armstrong and eleven other men visited the Moon, but those of us who were watching, as young as we might have been then, are the space generation.
The upcoming election has many Americans contemplating those leadership skills which are most essential for the one who leads them. What can we learn from the signature of Barack Obama?
And so we have two men who achieved extraordinary fame through determination and diligence, but who responded to fame very differently. One exulted in his success, and became a hero of his time; the other shunned publicity, and became an enduring icon.
In the past week, two American heroes passed away: One literally -- the other figuratively. Lance and Neil Armstrong were driven to excel. They both shared two sides of the American coin: individualism and team effort.
Neil Armstrong was no Christopher Columbus. In most respects, he was better. Unlike the famous fifteenth century seafarer, Armstrong knew where he landed.
If history gave him the singular role of unitary face and name representing the efforts of thousands of nameless engineers and scientists who built and launched those fuming, roaring black-and-white obelisks towards the stars, he earned it twofold.
Yesterday, the Rover beamed back the first human voice from another planet, which was a prerecorded message from NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. Wake me up when we send humans.