This has been discussed on the history, news, etc., channels for several years. I saw it live. I thought at the time he said “a man”, but it was vague. It was not the best sound back then on our old TV, and the space technology was not great either; you could hear him breathing and there were other sounds that made the quote somewhat unclear. But, there didn’t appear to be a long pause in the replay of it; only a very short one. And, maybe long enough to eliminate the “a”.
Then again, maybe my memory is not very clear. But when I first read the quote in the papers, I was confused. The written quote wasn’t what I thought I heard. Did he slide over the long “a” and make it more of a quick “uh”, or did I make it up in my mind because that was what I thought it should be?
I’ll never know. When I hear the recording over, it doesn’t seem to be there. So, I suppose I inserted it, but I swear I heard it that night.
I think Armstrong has stated that he did say the “a”. But, if you think about it, one can say, “One small step for (uh) man.”, and it can virtually disapper if said quickly.