Public Memorial Set for Neil Armstrong

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A public memorial service for late astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the Moon, will take place Sept. 13 at Washington National Cathedral in Washington.

The event offers a chance for the nation to pay its respects to the iconic astronaut, who died Aug. 25 following complications from a recent heart surgery. A private ceremony for family and friends of Armstrong was held Aug. 31 in Cincinnati.

The Sept. 13 service is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EDT. It will be broadcast live on NASA TV and streamed by the websites of both NASA and the National Cathedral.

Many dignitaries are expected to attend, including NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and other NASA officials, political leaders and members of the Armstrong family, space agency officials said.

A select few regular folks will make it into the service as well. A “very limited” number of seats will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis, according to a NASA media advisory. People interested in attending should contact Christine Peterson at christine.peterson@nasa.gov.

Armstrong rose to international fame when he stepped onto the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. He and Buzz Aldrin spent more than 21 hours on the Moon, while Apollo 11 crew mate Michael Collins orbited above in their command module Columbia.

The multifaith Washington National Cathedral is a historic landmark, and it already has a connection with Armstrong and the Apollo 11 mission. In 1974, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins presented the cathedral with a Moon rock they had collected on their historic journey, as part of a ceremony commemorating the fifth anniversary of humanity’s first steps on the Moon.