Neil Armstrong, whose “one small step” on the moon rocketed him into international fame and marked a new era in human history, has been buried at sea.
Armstrong died on August 25 at the age of 82, leaving behind his wife, Carol Armstrong, two sons, a stepson and a stepdaughter. The astronaut’s cause of death was recently revealed to be due to complications resulting from bypass surgery that he had undergone earlier on in the month.
On Friday, Armstrong’s cremated remains were committed to the Atlantic Ocean, as per the astronaut’s final wish, in a burial-at-sea ceremony aboard the USS Philippine Sea. Carol, with the help of U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Paul Nagy, committed Armstrong’s remains.
NBC News reported on Armstrong’s burial-at-sea service:
“The service followed the Navy’s time-honored tradition, featuring remarks by Navy chaplain Donald Troast, three volleys fired in tribute from a firing squad, and the playing of “Taps.” Family members and a smattering of close friends attended the ceremony alongside white-uniformed Navy personnel. The ship’s flag flew at half-mast. In fact, U.S. flags around the world were flying at half-staff today in Armstrong’s honor.”
Before Armstrong’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission to the moon he served as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot, flying a total of 78 combat missions during the Korean war. After the famed mission, Armstrong largely backed away from the spotlight.
“Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend,” the Armstrong family said in a statement Saturday. ” Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job.”
[Image credit: Bill Ingalls / NASA]