Bay Area school remembers namesake Neil Armstrong

August 31, 2012 10:07:09 PM PDT
Friday, a private memorial celebrating the life of Neil Armstrong took place in Cincinnati. But while it was happening, there was another memorial happening Bay Area.

When he blasted off to the moon, Armstrong probably never guessed fifth graders would one day be reading about him on their iPads. And when he flew those treacherous training missions, he might not have known how famous he would become.

Though they weren't around when Armstrong took that famous first step, the students at Neil Armstrong Elementary School in San Ramon can't help but know how important he was.

So on the day when family and dignitaries gathered in Cincinnati to remember Armstrong's life, the principal thought Neil Armstrong Elementary should do the same.

"I felt it was important that the children understand why their school was named after Neil Armstrong," Principal Lorna Monteith said.

This was the first time many of these kids had seen the video of Armstrong walking on the moon, but for the generation that's a little bit older, it's an image that's indelibly etched on their minds.

"It was wonderful to see the children experience that," Mayor Bill Clarkson said. "I recall being 16 years old when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and watching it on a small black and white TV in the back of the restaurant where I worked."

Clarkson recalls just a month later, the city named the school after Armstrong because of what he symbolized.

In Cincinnati, he was honored with a bagpipe brigade and a Navy flyover. In San Ramon, it was a simpler affair -- a student released a single white balloon and the school looked on and waved goodbye.


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