September 15, 2012
Armstrong’s Ashes Laid To Rest In The Atlantic Ocean
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, received a sendoff worthy of his accomplishments on Friday, as his ashes were committed to sea during a service which included full military honors.
Carol Armstrong and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Paul Nagy led the burial service for the late NASA astronaut, who passed away August 25 at the age of 82. The service, which took place onboard the USS Philippine Sea at an undisclosed location in the Atlantic Ocean, honored Armstrong, who had served in the Navy from 1949 through 1952, with a bugler playing "Taps" and a commemorative rifle salute, the US space agency reported.
Images from the service, published by NASA and members of the media following its conclusion, show members of the crew folding an American flag, which was presented to Mrs. Armstrong following the service, as well as the actual committing of the legendary space travel pioneer's ashes into the ocean waters, the Daily Mail's Beth Stebner reported. The service also included remarks from Navy chaplain Donald Troast, she added.
"Family members and a smattering of close friends attended the ceremony alongside white-uniformed Navy personnel. The ship's flag flew at half-mast," Alan Boyle of NBCNews.com said. "The family did not provide details about today's service, but Navy spokesman Ed Zeigler said the procedure typically calls for the urn and its contents to be deposited into the ocean. Nowadays, many of the urns used for this purpose are biodegradable, meaning that they dissolve soon after being placed in the water.".
On Thursday, other former Apollo astronauts, along with current NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and other key figures gathered at the National Cathedral in Washington to pay their final respects to the late Apollo 11 commander. Among those on hand were Armstrong's Apollo 11 crewmates Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, as well as Apollo 17 mission commander Eugene Cernan and former US Senator and NASA astronaut John Glenn.
"Neil will always be remembered for taking humankind's first small step on another world. But it was the courage, grace and humility he displayed throughout his life that lifted him above the stars," Boldin said during the service. "Neil Armstrong left more than footprints and a flag on the moon. He left a foundation for the future and paved the way for future American explorers to be the first to step foot on Mars or another planet."
Armstrong, who also performed the first manned docking of two spacecraft while serving as command pilot during the 1966 Gemini 8 mission, had undergone heart surgery on August 8, just days following his 82nd birthday. His family has said that his passing came as a result of complications from that procedure.