The Who2 Blog

Neil Armstrong and the POWs

Nice story from Neil Armstrong‘s private funeral last week:

[Senator Rob] Portman told a story of introducing Armstrong to Tom Moe, a retired Air Force colonel and director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services. Moe was a fighter pilot like Armstrong. In 1968, Moe’s plane malfunctioned and was forced down over Vietnam. Moe became a prisoner of war for five years.
Moe told Armstrong the guards were always telling the prisoners how terribly the war was going for the United States, and that the American people had turned their backs on them. The guards even said that America had lost the space race.
But one day, a letter came to an inmate from his mother. The guards had doublechecked the letter to make sure no good news was coming through about America, but they forgot to look at the stamp.
The stamp showed Armstrong stepping on the moon. Finally, the prisoners had proof that none of what the guards were saying was true. The Americans were buoyant.
Portman said that hearing this story was the only time he ever saw Armstrong get emotional about his trip to the moon.
Photo of a young Neil Armstrong with a brush-cut and the US flag
Neil Armstrong will be buried at sea in a traditional tipped-off-the-side-of-the-ship service:
The U.S. Navy confirmed it would perform the ceremony but cited the Armstrong family’s wishes for privacy in deciding to not say where, when or from which ship the burial would take place.
It is not known if this will be a full-body burial or a dropping of ashes.
In a burial involving casketed remains, according to naval regulations, taps will be played, there will be a prayer, a firing of arms, a salute and then the board holding the casket will be tilted forward, allowing the casket to slide into the sea.
The ceremony for cremated ashes is similar.

Before he was a moonwalker, Armstrong was a Navy flier. In fact, he went to Purdue on a Navy scholarship and interrupted his studies when the Navy called him up to fly in the Korean War.

See our full Neil Armstrong biography »


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