From Gene Seymour:
What were you doing when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon?
But Armstrong, a native of Wapakoneta, Ohio, so steeped in flying that his idea of winding down was piloting gliders in his spare time, wanted exactly none of those options. Having his choice of any possible future after leaving NASA in 1971, he chose to go back to his home state and teach aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
It was an unusual, but, by then, hardly surprising move by the laconic commander of Apollo 11, the July 1969 mission that fulfilled President John F. Kennedy’s mandate for an American lunar landing within a decade. Before, during and after that epochal journey, Armstrong came across as something of an enigma to global media anxious to make him the brightest star on Earth.
This was going to be tough. Rather than having the jaunty wit of a Wally Schirra, the affable magnetism of a John Glenn or the flinty swagger of a Chuck Yeager, Neil Armstrong came across as nothing more than the earnest, no-nonsense engineer he actually was. No artifice, no flash, no — well, frankly, no star power to speak of.
Within the fraternity of test pilots, however, Armstrong was among the brightest of stars. Before being chosen in 1962 as one of the “Group II” astronauts — which included Apollo 13 commander James Lovell along with such legends as Frank Borman, Pete Conrad and John Young — Armstrong was one of the elite pilots selected to fly the X-15 rocket plane up to five times the speed of sound and toward the edge of space.
Another story by Anthony Lane.