Give the Blue Moon a Wink in Memory of Neil Armstrong.

by M-Berens

Neil Armstrong's funeral was held August 31, 2012, fittingly on the same day as a blue moon rises. Photo by: Sias van Schalkwyk.

When you “see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” This request, made my Neil Armstrong’s family after his death on August 25, 2012 at the age of 82 years, becomes especially poignant on August 31, 2012, the day of his funeral as a blue moon makes a fitting appearance.

Armstrong’s funeral, which was held August 31, 2012, was a private affair, in keeping with his reticent character. Even after returning to Earth a hero after his moon walk on July 20, 1969, Armstrong avoided the limelight. After a ticker tape parade in New York City and world tour of 22 countries in celebration of mankind’s first step on the moon, Armstrong retired to his dairy farm in Ohio and taught at the University of Cincinnati as well as helping NASA with accident investigations. He had been encouraged to avoid the public eye by Charles Lindberg, another aviation pioneer, whose infant son had been kidnapped and killed because his family had been pushed into the limelight. Armstrong heeded his advice and gave only a handful of interviews and kept his family life private. But for the man who took his first flight at the age of 6 years, his love of flight never left him. “I believe that the Good Lord gave us a finite number of heartbeats and I’m damned if I’m going to use up mine running up and down a street.” Two years ago he even volunteered to command a mission to Mars.

U.S. Navy jets fly in a "Missing Man" formation after Neil Armstrong's memorial service.

Armstrong’s funeral took place at Camargo Club in Cincinnati and was attended by family, former astronauts and political and business leaders. A fly over by naval fighter planes completed the service.

"It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small." Neil Armstrong

Flags in the United States were flown at half staff in honor of the first man to set foot on the moon. Fellow astronauts Eugene Cernan, who was the last man to walk on the moon during the Apollo 17 moon mission and James Lovell who was the commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, were at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center where they helped launch a children’s health fund in memory of Neil Armstrong. Armstrong had a young daughter Emily who died at the age of three from a brain tumor. The family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the hospital or to one of two scholarship funds that have been set up in his name.

A national memorial service for Neil Armstrong is being planned in the coming weeks.


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