Neil Armstrong, remembered after his death Saturday as a quiet man, is to have a quiet funeral on Friday near his Cincinnati home, NASA confirmed today. The service is to be private, though Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who called Armstrong “a good friend and adviser,” will be there for a eulogy. While there have been discussions of a national memorial service, nothing has been confirmed yet.
The White House issued a proclamation this afternoon that flags would fly at half-staff on Friday. The Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Armstrong’s birth place of Wapakoneta, Ohio, plans a tribute Wednesday night, and Purdue University in Indiana, where he studied engineering, announced a late-afternoon memorial today. Streaming video can be found on the Purdue website.
So far everything is in keeping with his family’s description of him — “a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job.”
Armstrong — who commanded the world’s attention in 1969 when he became the first human being to walk on the moon — died Saturday of complications following heart surgery. His family would not say where he died, though he had spent the last several decades in his native Ohio.
There were tributes from around the world — from President Obama and Mitt Romney, from fellow astronauts and celebrities — but his family asked people to dispense with words.
“Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty,” they said in their statement announcing his death, “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.”