Washington says goodbye to Neil Armstrong

It was a somber but grand send-off for one of the world’s most intrepid explorers.

Friends and family gathered at the National Cathedral today to honor late astronaut Neil Armstrong. Fellow astronauts Eugene Cernan and Michael Collins and NASA chief Charles Bolden spoke about Armstrong’s invaluable contribution to space exploration and his quiet, unassuming grace. Jazz musician Diana Krall played a sorrowful version of Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To The Moon.”

Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon on July 21, 1969, uttering those famous words, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Evidence of that giant leap was only a few feet away during the service; the lunar rock Armstrong brought back with astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins is now embedded in a stained glass window commemorating space exploration in the Cathedral.

Armstong died on August 25 from complications following quadruple bypass surgery. He was 82.

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