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Astronauts among dignitaries at Armstrong service
CINCINNATI (AP) - Fellow space pioneers including two crewmates on the historic Apollo 11 mission mourned and celebrated Neil Armstrong as a humble hero who saw himself as a team player and never capitalized upon his celebrity as the first man to walk on the moon.
Hundreds of people attended a closed service Friday at a private suburban Cincinnati club. A national memorial service has been scheduled for Sept. 12 in Washington, although no other details have been released.
Armstrong died Saturday at age 82.
Among some 10 former astronauts attending Friday were John Glenn and Armstrong’s crew for the 1969 moon landing, Edward “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins.
Four Navy fighter planes flew over at the end of the service, one flying upward in tribute to the former Navy pilot who flew combat missions in Korea.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
Neil Armstrong never capitalized on his celebrity and just wanted to be part of a team _ yet ended up making history and becoming an American hero, fellow astronauts said Friday as mourners gathered to celebrate the life of the first man to walk on the moon.
Former astronauts, political and business leaders, and family and friends gathered in suburban Cincinnati at a private club for a closed service for Armstrong.
“America has truly lost a legend,” said fellow Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan, who said Armstrong was a hero who “came from the culture of our country,” growing up on a western Ohio farm, flying combat missions, and then joining the space program.
A program stated that the service included a Navy ceremonial guard, and comments by Armstrong’s two sons and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. A flyover by Navy fighter planes was planned at the end of the service, in tribute to Armstrong’s Navy pilot service that included combat missions in Korea.
Armstrong died last Saturday at age 82. Family spokeswoman Allison Ryan said there would be a national memorial service in Washington Sept. 12.
No guest list for Friday’s memorial was released, but among some 10 former astronauts attending were space pioneer John Glenn and Armstrong’s fellow Apollo astronauts Cernan, James Lovell and William Anders.
Earlier Friday, Cernan and Lovell spoke at a Cincinnati hospital to help launch a children’s health fund in Armstrong’s memory.
Cernan and Lovell recounted visiting U.S troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with Armstrong, saying he always had an inspirational impact when meeting troops, schoolchildren and other admirers around the world.
Lovell said Armstrong was “a great American” who never capitalized on his celebrity and just “wanted to be a team player.” While Armstrong said any of the astronauts could have been the first to walk on the moon, Lovell and Cernan said Armstrong was the right choice for the way he handled suddenly becoming an icon.
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