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Neil Armstrong among 'greatest of American heroes,' Obama says

August 25, 2012 |  2:20 pm

Neil Armstrong among greatest of American heroes, President Obama says

President Obama called Neil Armstrong, who died Saturday of complications from heart surgery, one of the greatest of American heroes. Armstrong was 82.

"Michelle and I were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Neil Armstrong," the president's statement said.

"Neil was among the greatest of American heroes -- not just of his time, but of all time. When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. 

PHOTOS: Neil Armstrong dead at 82

"They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable -- that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible. And when Neil stepped foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, he delivered a moment of human achievement that will never be forgotten.

"Today, Neil's spirit of discovery lives on in all the men and women who have devoted their lives to exploring the unknown -- including those who are ensuring that we reach higher and go further in space. That legacy will endure -- sparked by a man who taught us the enormous power of one small step."

PHOTOS: Apollo 11 mission


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Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon, is dead at 82

-- Times staff writers   

Photo: President Obama meets with Neil Armstrong at the White House in 2009 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Credit: Bill Ingalls / NASA