EVERETT — When news spread that astronaut Neil Armstrong had died, people of different ages in Snohomish County reacted the same way.
An important historical figure was gone.
“We lost a great pioneer,” said Lois Holton, 73, of Everett.
Holton believed Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was a great influence on later generations. He got them interested in science, she said.
He also made many children dream of becoming an astronaut.
“Who wouldn’t dream of going to space?” asked Robert Hennessy, 30, of Lake Stevens.
Neil Armstrong died Saturday following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures, a statement from his family said. He was 82.
On July 20, 1969, millions of people watched him take first steps on the lunar surface and earn a place in history.
The memories were fuzzy, but Marie Bolin remembers sitting in front of the television to watch Armstrong’s iconic walk.
Bolin was in her early teens. She didn’t fully understand what was happening. Bolin, now 58, only knew it was important.
“As kids, we didn’t know what was going on, but our parents were excited, so we watched,” Bolin, who lives on Camano Island, said.
Her husband, Mark Bolin, was working at a military base in New Jersey at the time. “It’s sad that he’s gone. He was an American icon,” he said.
The importance of the moon landing resonates even for those not yet born when Armstrong made his famous journey.
Jason Franklin, 35, learned about Armstrong not only in school, but also from “The Fantastic Four,” his favorite comic book characters. Armstrong appeared in several of their stories, Franklin said.
Seeing the Fantastic Four paying respect to Armstrong made an impression on Franklin, who works for the BobaKhan Toys and Collectible store in Everett.
“He is the father of space travel. Everything the Fantastic Four do is because of him,” Franklin said.
All young people should know who Armstrong was and what he did, said 15-year-old Jacob Rudolph, who volunteers at the store.
Armstrong’s trip was the beginning of an era. Now, we are starting a new one with the landing earlier this month of the Curiosity rover on Mars, said Max Irwin, 86.
“We can look back and say to ourselves that we have come a long way,” Irwin said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; firstname.lastname@example.org.