U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong’s funeral planned for Friday

August 28th, 2012 - 9:45 pm ICT by BNO News  

American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, will be laid to rest during a private service in Ohio on Friday, NASA said on Monday. U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff on that day.

A NASA spokesperson said Armstrong, who is from the city of Wapakoneta in Ohio, will be laid to rest during a private, family memorial service in Cincinnati on Friday. Other details were not immediately released, although a number of officials, including U.S. Senator Rob Portman, are expected to attend.

Also on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a proclamation ordering the flag of the United States to be flown at half-staff on Friday. Ohio Governor John Kasich, meanwhile, ordered flags in the state to be flown at half-staff from Monday through Friday for the Ohio native.

“As a mark of respect for the memory of Neil Armstrong, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that on the day of his interment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds,” Obama said in the proclamation. U.S. flags will also be flown at half-staff at military posts, naval stations, U.S. embassies, ships and consular offices.

Armstrong served as commander during the Apollo 11 mission, the first manned lunar landing mission, in July 1969. He immediately rose to fame around the world for being the first man to land a craft on the moon and then the first man to step on its surface, after which he and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin explored it for over two hours.

People from around the world gathered around their television sets to watch coverage of the moon landing and to hear Armstrong’s famous words as he stepped onto the moon’s surface. “That is one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind,” Armstrong said on July 20, 1969, as he became a part of history.

Armstrong died at a hospital in Ohio on Saturday afternoon as a result of complications from cardiovascular procedures. He had underwent surgery due to blocked coronary arteries earlier this month, just days after celebrating his 82nd birthday. It is not yet known if a national memorial service will be held for Armstrong, who often shunned publicity.

On Saturday, the family made a simple request for those who want to honor Armstrong. “Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, 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,” a family statement said.

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