NASA, Kennedy Space Center honor Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - He was an American hero who first uttered the iconic phrase, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," as he became the first man to step on the moon.

Neil Armstrong is probably the best-known space explorer of our time. He was also an intensely private man, who avoided the spotlight, until news of his death broke last Saturday.

On Friday, WFTV's Melonie Holt watched NASA and Kennedy Space Center pay their respects to a hero.

Inside KSC's Lunar Theater, commemorating the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA remembered Armstrong.

He died following complications from heart surgery. He was 82.

"He never dwelled on his remarkable accomplishments. He just wanted to be part of this team," said Robert Cabana, director of Kennedy Space Center.

Armstrong flew 78 combat missions in Korea. But the former test pilot and NASA astronaut will likely be best remembered for July 20, 1969, when he became the first man to walk on the moon.

"The thing I remember about Neil, and he never changed, is that he looked you right in the eye," said Lee Solid, former Armstrong co-worker. "He made you feel like you were the important one and he wasn't."
Later in his career, Armstrong was a NASA administrator and a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

But, former NASA astronaut Winston Scott said Armstrong also inspired those he never met.

"Neil Armstrong was the kind of hero we'd all like to be, incredibly competent but quiet and humble," said Scott.

Flags at the Kennedy Space Center and around the country are flying at half-staff in a public show of respect for Armstrong.

His family held a private memorial service for him on Friday in his native Ohio.