Neil Armstrong, one of the greatest American heroes: Obama

| | Updated on: Aug 26, 2012

A “deeply saddened” US President Barack Obama hailed Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, as one of the greatest American heroes of all times, saying he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.

Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, died yesterday at the age of 82.

“Neil was among the greatest of American heroes, not just of his time, but of all time. When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation,” Obama said adding that he and the First Lady are deeply saddened by his death.

“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.

“And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten,” Obama added.

“Today, Neil’s spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown, including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space,” he said.

“That legacy will endure, sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step,” he added.

The Obama statement came soon after the family of Armstrong announced his death.

“We are heartbroken to share the news that Neil Armstrong has passed away following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend,” the family said in a statement.

“Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job. He served his Nation proudly, as a navy fighter pilot, test pilot, and astronaut,” they said.

“He remained an advocate of aviation and exploration throughout his life and never lost his boyhood wonder of these pursuits,” the family said.

“As much as Neil cherished his privacy, he always appreciated the expressions of goodwill from people around the world and from all walks of life,” they added.

“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves,” the family said.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who with along with Armstrong stepped on the moon’s surface, praised his comrade’s skill, dedication and selflessness.

“I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew,” Aldrin said.

“I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around the world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer.”

Armstrong inspired generations of Americans to believe that America is capable of achieving greatness that only comes with determination, perseverance, and hard work, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said.

“As a true pioneer, his one small step showed all mankind the great feats we can accomplish when we set ourselves to the task. While Neil is no longer with us, his spirit and his legacy of American achievement and national pride will live forever,” Panetta said paying tribute to the legendary US astronaut.

Published on March 12, 2018

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