In the summer of 1969 Armstrong became the first man ever to set foot on the moon, and imprinted his name alongside history's greatest explorers.
In one tense and glorious July evening, Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew changed the face of possibility, made the unimaginable manageable and brought the world together as never before.
"As I stood on the surface of the moon, I could look up and see the planet Earth, and it was very bright and very beautiful and very small," Armstrong later said.
It was in Wapakoneta, Ohio where young Neil Alden Armstrong turned his attention to the skies, building model airplanes as a boy in his parents' basement.
He earned his pilot's license at 16, and was flying combat missions over Korea just four years later.
After the service, he flew everything from gliders to supersonic jets as a test pilot for the agency that would become NASA.
In 1962 the space agency started training Armstrong to be an astronaut, launching a career that would take him where no man had ever been before.
His achievement was one for the ages.
Neil Armstrong will be remembered as one of the most daring pioneers on the Earth, for his accomplishments outside of it.
In their statement Saturday announcing his death, Armstrong's family made a simple request for anyone who wanted to remember him, "Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."