A crowd, including local dignitaries, gathered Aug. 30 at the Neil Armstrong lunar module memorial on Parkman Road N.W., Warren, to pay tribute to the famed astronaut who died four days earlier.
Armstrong, at age 6, made his first flight on the ''Tin Goose'' airplane at an airstrip that was once located on the Parkman Road spot that now showcases the half-scale replica of the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Decades after that first flight in Warren, Armstrong would gain international fame by becoming the first man to walk on the moon.
It's rather remarkable how the community rallied around Armstrong advocates and volunteers Pete Perich, Diane Rodney, Linda Carpenter Perich and others to raise the money and create design work for the Armstrong memorial.
Meanwhile, little more than a stone's throw away on Lexington Avenue N.W., Henry and Kay Parise still reside in the boyhood home of NASA astronaut Ron Parise, who died of a brain tumor at age 56 in 2008.
Some may say that Parise, who grew up in Warren and graduated from Western Reserve High School and Youngstown State University, has credentials as impressive as Armstrong's.
Parise served as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttles Columbia and Endeavour. He flew 10.6 million miles over 614 hours in space.
On Columbia, Parise and his crew became the first astronomers to operate a telescope from space. The hundreds of observations they made provided scientists with unprecedented views of the universe, expanding understanding of the birth and life of the stars and galaxies.
On Endeavour, Parise's team detected primordial helium in intergalactic space. The discovery was called confirmation for the Big Bang theory. His flight pioneered the telebridge ground station concept to allow more schools to talk to shuttle crew.
After obtaining his master's and PhD from the University of Florida, Parise conducted valuable astronomic research in circumstellar matter in binary star systems while working at Goddard Space Center. He also helped create the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope and made important contributions to the scientific community with his studies on the evolutionary status of stars in globular clusters.
Parise's interest in space began early. When he drew a picture of the universe in first grade he was about the same age Armstrong was when he took his Parkman Road flight.
Perich Carpenter announced on Aug. 30 that a sculpture of Parise would one day adorn the Parkman Road site of the lunar module replica. Community leaders and volunteers should act on this quickly, preferably while Henry and Kay Parise remain in the neighborhood. And everybody who rallies for a Parise tribute should think big.
In one small town exists strong connections to two astronauts, riveting accomplishments and historical significance. Few places on this planet have an opportunity to showcase that.