Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the Moon, was honored in a memorial service at the Washington National Cathedral on September 13, 2012. He was remembered as a quiet but strong hero who led mankind into space. Armstrong died last month at 82 following complications after heart surgery. He will be buried at sea in the Naval tradition today (Friday, September 14, 2012) at an undisclosed site.
“He embodied all that is good and all that is great about America. Neil, wherever you are, you again have shown us a way to the stars,” said Gene Cernan during the memorial. Cernan was commander of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972 and the last person to walk on the Moon.
If you missed watching it live, here is a video of the entire service. The National Cathedral was a fitting place to remember Armstrong, as it has one stained glass window, known as the Space Window, which has a piece of Moon rock presented by Armstrong and his Apollo 11 crewmates Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins in 1974.
The recessional at the conclusion of a memorial service celebrating the life of Neil Armstrong at the Washington National Cathedral, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012. Photo Credit:(NASA/Paul E. Alers) Click here to see a gallery of images from the service.
The Cathedral was filled with NASA officials, astronauts, and the general public who wanted to pay their respects to the man who displayed courage and grace under pressure that had made him exceptional, said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden.
Cernan provided an example of Armstrong’s “cool under pressure” personality in recounting Armstrong’s response years ago when asked how he felt when he was landing on the Moon with only seconds of fuel remaining.
Cernan recalled Armstrong saying, “Well, when the gauge says empty we all know there is a gallon or two left over,” which drew laughter from the crowd.
At the end of the service, Bolden presented Armstrong’s wife, Carol, with the flag that had flown at half-staff over the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston on August 25, the day Armstrong passed away.