Entries in Neil Armstrong (4)


Neil Armstrong Memorial: First Man on Moon Eulogized Friday

NASA/Newsmakers(CINCINNATI, Ohio) -- Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 astronaut who died last weekend, was remembered Friday as a space pioneer, a reluctant hero and a man who bore with dignity the burden of being a national icon.

A private memorial service, in suburban Cincinnati not far from Armstrong's last home, was attended by family, longtime friends and fellow astronauts. Some of them spoke publicly or released statements before or after the service. Sen. Rob Portman, the Ohio Republican who counted Armstrong as a friend, delivered the eulogy, said NASA.

"He was a groundbreaking Naval aviator and the world's most famous astronaut," said Portman in a statement after Armstrong died, "but it was his humble and gracious response to the torrent of attention that followed his accomplishments that may have set him apart most."

President Obama ordered that flags be flown at half-staff today, and a spokeswoman for Armstrong's family said there would be a public memorial in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12.

Two of Armstrong's fellow Apollo astronauts, James Lovell and Eugene Cernan, spoke at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Friday morning, where a research fund was to be set up in Armstrong's memory. The Armstrong family also urged people to donate to scholarship funds organized by the Telluride Foundation and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Charles Bolden, a former astronaut who is now administrator of NASA, was in Cincinnati for the memorial and issued a statement. "A grateful nation offers praise," he said, "and salutes a humble servant who answered the call and dared to dream."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Neil Armstrong to Have Private Funeral Friday

NASA(WASHINGTON) -- Neil Armstrong, remembered after his death Saturday as a quiet man, is to have a quiet funeral on Friday near his Cincinnati home, NASA confirmed Monday. The service is to be private, though Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who called Armstrong “a good friend and adviser,” will be there for a eulogy. While there have been discussions of a national memorial service, nothing has been confirmed yet.

The White House issued a proclamation Monday afternoon that flags would fly at half-staff on Friday. The Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Armstrong’s birth place of Wapakoneta, Ohio, plans a tribute Wednesday night; Purdue University in Indiana, where he studied engineering, announced a late-afternoon memorial to take place Monday.  Streaming video of the service can be found on the Purdue website.

So far everything is in keeping with his family’s description of him -- “a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job.”

Armstrong -- who commanded the world’s attention in 1969 when he became the first human being to walk on the moon -- died Saturday of complications following heart surgery.  His family would not say where he died, though he had spent the last several decades in his native Ohio.

There were tributes from around the world -- from President Obama and Mitt Romney, from fellow astronauts and celebrities -- but his family asked people to dispense with words.

"Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty,” they said in their statement announcing his death, “and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Neil Armstrong Remembered as Hero, an Image He Shunned

NASA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Neil Armstrong, the Apollo 11 astronaut who died Saturday at 82, said he did not want to live his life as an icon, remembered only for that electric night in 1969 when he and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.

But when you have done what he did -- stepped out, alone, onto another world while half a billion Earthlings watched your television transmission -- the world recalls. Armstrong's moonwalk is one of those events that brought the world together; most people who are old enough to have seen it can tell you exactly where they were when it happened.

"His one small step will inspire generations to come," said space shuttle astronaut Nicole Stott on Twitter. She quoted Armstrong from a 1994 speech: "There are places to go beyond belief."

"No other act of human exploration ever laid a plaque saying, 'We came in peace for all mankind,"" tweeted Neil DeGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist.

President Obama -- whom Armstrong criticized two years ago for cutting NASA's exploration plans -- was nevertheless effusive: "Neil's spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown -- including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure -- sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step."

"Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes," said Mitt Romney. "The moon will miss its first son of earth."

Armstrong would doubtless have been uncomfortable with all the tributes. People who knew him said he was not a recluse, but he was a private man who quickly deflected credit to others. He described himself, more than once, as

a "nerdy engineer." He often protested that while he and Aldrin made the first lunar landing, they merely piloted a mission made possible by thousands of others.

But after his death was announced, the words kept coming.

This from Sen. Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat who once made a shuttle flight: "Neil Armstrong understood that we should reach beyond the stars. His 'one giant leap for mankind' was taken by a giant of a man."

And there was this from Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science Committee: "He exemplified all that is great about mankind, and he will forever be revered as a true American hero."

In his later years, Armstrong publicly complained about Washington politics. He said the space program had become a "shuttlecock" in the budget battles between the White House and Congress, which could not agree on its direction or how much America could afford to spend on it.

"NASA has been one of the most successful public investments in motivating students to do well and achieve all they can achieve," said Armstrong in an interview in Australia this spring. "It's sad that we are turning the program in a direction where it will reduce the amount of motivation and stimulation it provides to young people. And that's a major concern to me."

His family, in their statement announcing that he had died, asked people to remember his humility.

"For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request," they said. "Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kennedy's Space Challenge, 50 Years Later

NASA/AFP/Getty Images(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- Fifty years ago Wednesday, a fresh-faced president named John F. Kennedy -- just four months into his presidency -- asked Congress for the funding required to send American astronauts to the moon.

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth," President Kennedy said at the time. "No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."

Eight years later, on July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., with three men on board. Then, on July 20, the president's goal was realized when the spacecraft and its crew of astronauts -- Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong -- touched down on the moon.

"I'm at the foot of the ladder," Armstrong told Mission Control as he descended from the lunar lander to the moon’s surface.

With his right hand on the ladder, Armstrong continued, "I'm going to step off."
Then, in an image that would become forever ingrained in the minds of millions of Americans who watched the event live on television, Armstrong planted his left foot to the moon's surface.
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," he said.

The Russians beat the U.S. into orbit, but Americans won the race to the moon.

Fifty years later, critics say NASA has no timetable for returning men to the moon or to any planet. And though the American shuttle program is scheduled to end this summer, astronaut Mark Kelly, commander of the STS-134 shuttle mission, remains hopeful.

"It's something we need to continue, focus on, invest in," Kelly said last week from Space Shuttle Endeavour, which is currently docked at the International Space Station.

The final American space shuttle mission is slated for July 8.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio