Astronauts, family remember Neil Armstrong
Astronauts from the Apollo era and forward joined Neil Armstrong's family to celebrate the life of the first human to set foot on the moon.
Neil Armstrong was a humble hero who saw himself as a team player and never capitalized on his celebrity as the first man to walk on the moon, mourners said Friday outside a private service attended by fellow space pioneers, including his two crewmates on the historic Apollo 11 mission.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Apollo 11 went to the moon
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Hundreds of people attended a closed service for Armstrong Friday at a private club in suburban Cincinnati. A national memorial service has been scheduled for Sept. 12 in Washington, although no other details have been released on the service or burial plans for Armstrong. He died Saturday at age 82.
"You'll never get a hero, in my view, like Neil Armstrong," said Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, who praised Armstrong after the service for his wisdom and humility in the way he handled becoming a global icon. "It's going to be hard to top."
Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, eulogized Armstrong "as a reluctant hero" and said afterward the service was a mix of emotion and humor, with Armstrong's two sons talking about him as a father and grandfather.
"He touched the lives of so many," Portman said.
"He was the embodiment of everything this nation is all about," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Armstrong, he said, had a courageous drive for exploration while being an "incredibly humble" man who probably wouldn't have wanted all the attention of Friday's service.
It included a Navy ceremonial guard, a bagpiper corps and songs including "When the Saints Go Marching In." Four Navy fighter planes flew over at the end of the service, one flying upward in tribute to Armstrong, a former Navy pilot who flew combat missions in Korea.
Raised in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong developed an early love for aviation.
He commanded the Gemini 8 mission in 1966 and Apollo 11's historic moon landing on July 20, 1969. As a worldwide audience watched on TV, Armstrong took the step on the lunar surface he called "one giant leap for mankind."
Juri Taalman, 78, said he made a special trip from Hartford, Conn., just to stand across the road from the club where the service was held, in tribute to Armstrong.