America Bids Farewell to Neil Armstrong

First man on moon praised at DC memorial service
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2012 2:59 AM CDT
America Bids Farewell to Neil Armstrong
Apollo 17 mission commander Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, looks skyward during a memorial service celebrating the life of Neil Armstrong.   (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)

Astronauts, politicians, and members of the public crowded Washington National Cathedral yesterday to say a final farewell to Neil Armstrong, who will be buried at sea today. "He's now slipped the bonds of Earth once again, but what a legacy he left," former Treasury Secretary John Snow told the interfaith memorial service for the astronaut, who died last month at the age of 82. Singer Diana Krall performed a solemn version of "Fly Me to the Moon" for the 1,500 mourners, including Armstrong's Apollo 11 crewmates Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, the AP reports.

Speakers praised Armstrong as a reluctant hero and humble man, reports the Washington Post. Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, delivered a moving tribute to his friend. "No one—no one, but no one—could have accepted the responsibility of his remarkable accomplishment with more dignity and more grace than Neil Armstrong," he said. "Neil, wherever you are up there ... as you soar through the heavens, beyond where even eagles dare to go, you can now finally put out your hand and touch the face of God. Farewell, my friend." (Read more Neil Armstrong stories.)

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