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In 1974, Armstrong, Mr. Aldrin, and Mr. Collins presented the cathedral with a small piece of moon rock that was built into the design for the “Space Window.”

The cathedral’s bells pealed at the end of the service as attendees filed down the massive building’s stairs, some pausing to snap photographs with astronauts or wipe away tears.

Northwest Washington resident Evelyn Woolston-May said the service was “very moving but very tasteful” and also necessary, because Armstrong’s accomplishment was “an important occasion.”

“After all,” she said with a wink, “you don’t walk on the moon every day.”