Armstrong, the commander of the Apollo 11 mission that saw him become the first human to set foot on the moon, should be granted a state funeral in Washington DC, US Congressman Bill Johnson said.
Johnson, a Republican who represents Armstrong’s home state of Ohio, said, “His one small step on the moon was indeed a giant leap for mankind, and it exemplified what we mean by ‘American exceptionalism’.
“His first step on the moon showed the world that Americans can do anything. I still believe this, and I will always remember Neil Armstrong’s life and his visionary accomplishments. For these reasons, I ask President Obama to hold a state funeral for Neil Armstrong so that every American may pay tribute to this groundbreaking hero.”
State funerals are usually reserved for sitting or former presidents and have been granted to only a handful others, including the Unknown Soldiers of the two World Wars and Generals MacArthur and Pershing. The last state funeral in the US was granted to former President Gerald Ford from December 30, 2006 to January 2, 2007.
Neil Armstrong died on Saturday at the age of 82. Most Americans instantly recognised his name as that of the astronaut who became the first human to step foot on the moon. Others sadly mistook him for the lead singer of American punk band Green Day.
As word of Armstrong's death began to spread around the Internet, young people took to Twitter and said, “RIP Neil Armstrong. Green Day won't be the same without you.”
Other users mistook him for TV actor Neil Patrick Harris, and cyclist Lance Armstrong. And the worst was when American channel NBC mistakenly wrote that astronaut Neil Young had died.