- Associated Press - Monday, August 27, 2012

CINCINNATI (AP) — A private service is planned in Cincinnati on Friday for astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.

The Ohio native died Saturday in Cincinnati at age 82. No other information was released immediately about the service, other than that it would be private.

There have been preliminary discussions about a national memorial service for Mr. Armstrong, who often shunned publicity in the decades after his historic mission, but a family spokesman said there were no details yet.

Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican who has called Mr. Armstrong “a good friend and adviser,” will eulogize him at Friday’s service.

Mr. Portman is in Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention, where he is scheduled to speak Wednesday night. Spokeswoman Caitlin Dunn said his office is working on travel arrangements to get him back to Cincinnati in time for the service. The convention schedule already has been changed this week and could be further disrupted as Tropical Storm Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast.

Mr. Portman called Mr. Armstrong humble and gracious, and on Monday he recounted for Ohioans at the convention an anecdote demonstrating Mr. Armstrong’s compassion for veterans and his desire to keep a low profile: Several years ago, the former astronaut accepted Mr. Portman’s request to help dedicate a veterans memorial in suburban Mason, Ohio, but asked that his participation not be announced in advance. The crowd quickly rose in standing ovation when Mr. Armstrong was introduced, Mr. Portman recalled.

The Museum of Natural History & Science at the Cincinnati Museum Center has an exhibit that includes a moon rock and replicas of Mr. Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit and tools used on the moon. It is offering free admission through Labor Day to honor Mr. Armstrong, and more than 2,000 people visited Sunday.

Mr. Armstrong, who commanded the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, was born in Wapakoneta, in west-central Ohio. He is celebrated there at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum, which is planning a memorial tribute called “Wink at the Moon” on Wednesday night.

The statement Mr. Armstrong’s family released upon his death requested that the public honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, adding “and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

Associated Press reporter Thomas Beaumont in Tampa contributed to this article.




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