[At least] two influential Americans passed away in this past week. Only one of the men I'm thinking of was likely a household name, but I would venture to guess that both played significant roles in the lives of Americans in my generation.
Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon, was, in the words of his family, "a reluctant American hero." Nonetheless, he encouraged countless others to explore new frontiers, and to imagine possibilities that others might have dismissed as too difficult or utterly unattainable. His memory is a blessing because he will continue to inspire a quest for scientific knowledge far into the future.
Jerry Nelson is probably less well known. He was a seminal member of Jim Henson's Muppet troupe, and was the originator of such characters as Kermit's nephew Robin, Count von Count, Floyd (lead singer of the Electric Mayhem) and countless others. With Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and the rest of the Muppets' crew, Jerry Nelson encouraged us all to stretch our imaginations and have fun.