With global attention refocused on the "man on the moon," the memory of Neil Armstrong being the nerdy guy down the street who rode his bike to work in my aunt and uncle's grocery store still makes me believe in small-town American values. Growing up in Wapakoneta, Ohio, seemed boring at the time but Neil did inspire all of us in high school at the time that we could go anywhere, even to the moon.

After the required quarantine and ticker tape parades, he came home to Wapak and had a press conference. He invited the four high school newspaper editors to ask him questions, right along with the "big media" folks. One of our questions was, "Why were you chosen to be first out of the capsule?" His answer was that he was the first civilian astronaut and therefore represented all Americans, not just a single branch of the military as were the others. A political lesson learned...

The lasting memory, however, is that he told us about the importance of doing your job and living a life of service. He never sought the fame or to make money as he obviously could have. He quietly went to work as a nerdy engineering professor at University of Cincinnati, right down the road from Wapakoneta, Ohio.

The welcome signs on the town's entrances were changed from "Home of Neil Armstrong, First Civilian Astronaut" to "Home of Neil Armstrong, First Man on the Moon" but for most of us small-town kids, every time we look at the moon, we say, "We knew a man who went there." That's a precious lifelong gift to all...true inspiration from a man who lived by example.

Kath Williams