Yet for all of his accomplishments, Neil Armstrong was a humble man. He did not seek the limelight, and while a lot of that could be attributed to his desire for privacy that he brought up in his autobiography, he could have had whatever he wanted. Instead, he took part in helping other astronauts, whether through training, or as part of investigations in the Challenger disaster. Sitting on my couch here in 2012, is a android phone, that has more technological capability than Apollo 11 did. Its not going to the Moon. At least I hope its not, because I cannot get there, and do not want to spend $200 to replace it. Neil Armstrong's family released a statement yesterday, that sounded just like something he'd say, during his very few public appearances. That was "Everytime you look at the Moon, there's Neil winking."
So we've landed on the moon with Armstrong, and eleven other men. There were I believe six missions on the Lunar Surface, so why haven't seizures been cured? Why are children and adults, having from one to thousands of seizures a day, and some of them dying from this condition? I do not know the answer, because as a simple man, there are no easy answers. Yet I firmly believe that Steve Jobs, another pioneer was correct, when he said that "biology and technology will come together like never seen before, in the next ten years." His prediction rate was pretty good, and it is with the most sincere of prayers, the most depths of passion, that we must do exactly what Neil Armstrong did. Work together. His humility was not only shown after returning from the Moon, but even prior to that. He was a guy who worked with others, to accomplish even the most mundane of tasks.
65 million people across the world have epilepsy. That's right, this condition affects many individuals, and families. The costs to a person contending with this, and their families, if put into an economic formula would be mind boggling. That is why it is each and every one of our moral obligations, to put aside egos when necessary, our pride, and fight with solidarity for more funding and research. Only 1/2 of 1% of U.S. financed medical research goes towards seizures.(3-4% of the American population has this condition) Even though the U.S. and other nations around the world have dealt with financial struggles the past few years, it is a worldwide effort to eradicate seizures. We must constantly chip away, quietly brick by brick in our efforts, but at the same time find the right balance to have our voices heard. The White House must be turned purple for a day, as a reminder, that we must cure seizures, because John F. Kennedy was right when he said "Not because it is easy, but because it is hard."
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were on Apollo 11's mission. I have a coin from the Marshall Islands commemorating this historical event. A few months ago, I touched the lunar rocks at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. It was a surreal experience. I will not launch into space, nor get to fly in the Orion/Constellation Next Generation space craft. That is okay, but what is not, is that right now so many are having seizures as this is being typed. In honor of Neil Armstrong, and all pioneers who have done something amazing, let's all find ways to keep up the pressure on legislators, and foundations, that can push for seizure research. It does not matter what condition causes the seizures, but what does is the results. This is our generations challenge, and may we answer this call, united and ready to keep doing our work with rolled up sleeves and sheer determination.