The True Story Behind Neil Armstrong’s First Words On The Moon

By Rudie Obias | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

neil-armstrongThe famous first line uttered by the first man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, is a strong reminder of how far mankind has come as a species. For years, Armstrong had told many people that he thought of the line, relatively, off the cuff. But in a recent documentary, the formation of the line was somewhat exaggerated for dramatic effect.

As stated in the BBC Two documentary, Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon, Armstrong had actually written a variation of the iconic line months before the Moon landing on July 20th 1969. According to Neil Armstrong’s brother, Dean Armstrong, the first man on the lunar surface wrote the line on a scrap piece of paper and passed it to him as a note. Dean Armstrong revealed,

Before he went to the Cape, he invited me down to spend a little time with him. He said “why don’t you and I, once the boys go to bed, why don’t we play a game of Risk.”

I said I’d enjoy that. We started playing Risk and then he slipped me a piece of paper and said “read that.” I did.

On that piece of paper there was “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” He says “what do you think about that?” I said “fabulous.” He said “I thought you might like that, but I wanted you to read it.

It was always rumored that the exact line Neil Armstrong said on the Moon was “one small step for a man one giant leap for mankind” but instead what we’ve all heard was “one small step for man one giant leap for mankind” without the “a” article. Apparently, the article was cut off because of static interference but Neil Armstrong had always contended that’s what he originally said on the Moon.

Armstrong knew the importance of the historical event and took precautions to seize the moment for all-time. Unfortunately, Neil Armstrong passed away a few months ago so it’s unclear if there’s any truth to the clever story. And of course, this doesn’t diminish the significant relevance of the Moon landing or the first words said on the Lunar surface but it remains an interesting anecdote surrounding the event.