'Sad' is close to the word, but not quite. His family and friends, I'm sure, are devastated. However, to the public at large, this isn't a tragedy. The man was 82, with heart problems. Without the personal affection, or any tragedy there to make you feel truly sad, the feeling is one of reflection on one of the greatest lives ever lived: a decorated test pilot, navy officer, war veteran, and professor of engineering. Those alone put him head-and-shoulders above the vast majority of people, without the exploratory milestone more impressive than Leif Ericson's. Every once in awhile there is a moment, and I'm sure this has happened to everyone in the free world, and probably everyone else in the world too, where in some sense you feel yourself to be an American. It's never about apple pie or baseball or the ritual of college football. It's because when the Americans have set a goal, they are they are the world's only juggernaut, and have triumphs and tragedies that are on a scale that is uniquely theirs. So when we see tragedies like when we saw Challenger break apart, or the morning of Sept. 11; or when we see triumphs like when we saw the shuttle launch, when we see an image from Hubble, and perhaps most of all when we spend a thought about the time a man walked on the Moon, there is a force that compels you to strip yourself of the petty politics of the world, and embrace the event as yours to share, as a citizen of our planet; as a cousin, no matter how distant, of the characters in the human stories of whatever spectacular failure or success. In my mind, that's how big Armstrong was.