US flags to fly at half-staff to honour Neil Armstrong
Washington: Flags in the US will fly at half-staff in memory of Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the Moon, who passed away last week.
In a proclamation issued Monday, President Barack Obama ordered that the US flags be half-staff on all government buildings and diplomatic missions overseas on the day of his burial as "a mark of respect" in Armstrong's memory.
Armstrong's family, that plans a private service on Friday, has thanked admirers from across the globe for their "outpouring condolences" in memory of the late astronaut.
"Many have asked if a memorial has been designated. If anyone wishes to make a memorial in his (Armstrong's) name, we suggest, in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to one of the two organisations--Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre (Neil Armstrong New Frontiers Initiative) and Telluride Foundation (Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund), the family said.
Meanwhile, the space community in the US continued to mourn the death of Armstrong, who died on August 25 at the age of 82 following complications from heart-bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month.
"Neil Armstrong was a humble, soft-spoken hero who never forgot that it was the will of the nation and the tireless work of thousands of scientists and engineers that enabled him take that famous 'giant leap' for mankind," said Space Foundation CEO Elliot H Pulham.
He said after the Apollo mission, Armstrong opted to "stay away from limelight" and helped solving "business and engineering challenges", besides "quietly" working to inspire new generation of explorers.
"Armstrong's quiet resolve and unyielding belief in the importance of exploration will be missed by a grateful nation," Pulham said.
"Particularly in this age of timid exploration goals and paltry NASA budgets, Armstrong looms as a larger-than-life reminder of what our nation was once capable of," he added.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who will eulogise Armstrong at his service, termed him as "a true American hero" for his extraordinary service to the nation and leading an honourable life.
"He was a groundbreaking Naval aviator and world's most famous astronaut, but it was his humble and gracious response to the torrent of attention that followed his accomplishments that may have set him apart most," Portman said.