Buzz Aldrin

  • Male
  • Courageous
  • What mean this word, "can't"?
Buzz Aldrin

Gone are the days every red-blooded American boy dreamed of growing up to be an astronaut, so being a history-making "space-man" is not the main reason why we're holding up Buzz Aldrin as a hero.  He can claim a list of rare accomplishments:

  1. He has walked on Earth’s moon. (How many people can say that? Answer: 12. Of the several billions of people who have ever lived on this planet, only 12 have walked on the moon.  So, percentage-wise . . . )
  2. He has piloted an Apollo Lunar Module to the moon’s surface. (How many people can say that? Answer: 6.)
  3. He was a U.S. Air Force jet fighter pilot during the Korean War. He flew 66 combat missions in F-86 Sabres and downed 2 MiG-15 jets.
  4. He earned a Doctor of Science degree in Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  5. He was the first person to hold a religious ceremony on the moon. (How many people can say that? Uh, just one.  Forever.)
  6. And quite a few more, including making several guest TV appearances as himself and having the animated character “Buzz Lightyear” named after him.

Yes, he certainly does deserve a pat on the back and admiration for all that he’s been able to accomplish. He has done one thing, however, that separates him from his God-given talents, his hard work, and his subtle luck that made him one of only a dozen people ever to set foot on the moon. He has done one thing that sets him not above but beyond many millions if not billions of people, and unlike becoming an astronaut, it’s something the average person can do. Buzz Aldrin has publicly admitted his own mental health issues and alcoholism.

This has been very, very helpful for people coming to grips with their own issues and for people trying to understand their loved one’s emotional issues. After all, if someone as accomplished, intelligent, educated, financially secure, and generally elite as Buzz Aldrin can be clinically depressed and an alcoholic . . .

Mr. Aldrin did not need to make public his private health and addiction issues. He did, though, and that deserves much respect for anyone and especially for anyone in his position, famous and already held high as a hero. He wrote a book about his life after his Apollo and NASA years, the title of which refers initially to the surface of the moon and then to the rebuilding of his life, his coming to terms with his clinical depression and years of alcoholism: Magnificent Desolation. To get a feel for his attitude toward life, watch him playing himself (somewhat fictionalized) in this episode of the TV sit-com 30 Rock. Rather humble and life-affirming, isn’t it?

His famous quote about dealing with depression and alcoholism is, “Do you continue to descend into an abyss? Or do you try to make a difference with what you know best?”