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“That showed a dedication to what he was doing that was admirable,” Glenn said.

A man who kept away from cameras, Armstrong went public in 2010 with his concerns about President Barack Obama’s space policy that shifted attention away from a return to the moon and emphasized private companies developing spaceships. He testified before Congress, and in an email to The Associated Press, Armstrong said he had “substantial reservations,” and along with more than two dozen Apollo-era veterans, he signed a letter calling the plan a “misguided proposal that forces NASA out of human space operations for the foreseeable future.”

Armstrong was among the greatest of American heroes, Obama said in a statement.

“When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable _ that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible,” Obama said.

Obama’s Republican opponent Mitt Romney echoed those sentiments, calling Armstrong an American hero whose passion for space, science and discovery will inspire him for the rest of his life.

“With courage unmeasured and unbounded love for his country, he walked where man had never walked before. The moon will miss its first son of earth,” Romney said.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden recalled Armstrong’s grace and humility.

“As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind’s first small step on a world beyond our own,” Bolden said in a statement.

Armstrong’s modesty and self-effacing manner never faded.

When he appeared in Dayton in 2003 to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of powered flight, he bounded onto a stage before 10,000 people packed into a baseball stadium. But he spoke for only a few seconds, did not mention the moon, and quickly ducked out of the spotlight.

He later joined Glenn, by then a senator, to lay wreaths on the graves of Wilbur and Orville Wright. Glenn introduced Armstrong and noted it was 34 years to the day that Armstrong had walked on the moon.

“Thank you, John. Thirty-four years?” Armstrong quipped, as if he hadn’t given it a thought.

At another joint appearance, the two embraced and Glenn commented: “To this day, he’s the one person on earth I’m truly, truly envious of.”

Armstrong’s moonwalk capped a series of accomplishments that included piloting the X-15 rocket plane and making the first space docking during the Gemini 8 mission, which included a successful emergency splashdown.

In the years afterward, Armstrong retreated to the quiet of the classroom and his southwestern Ohio farm. Aldrin said in his book “Men from Earth” that Armstrong was one of the quietest, most private men he had ever met.

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