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

By Rudie Obias | Updated

Neil Armstrong

The 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 2012 BBC Two documentary, Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon, Neil 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.”

Armstrong continued, “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 Neil Armstrong’s exact line on the Moon was “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” but instead, what we’ve all heard is “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.

Neil Armstrong knew the importance of the historical event and took precautions to seize the moment for all-time. It makes sense considering he was going to legit only get one shot at it (there was only one first step after all) so making good on the opportunity was the most important thing.

Unfortunately, Neil Armstrong passed away on August 25, 2012, so the clever story’s authenticity is unclear.

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.

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