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Reaction to the death of astronaut Neil Armstrong

August 26, 2012

Saturday reaction to the death of astronaut Neil Armstrong, who became the first person to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969:

"When I think of Neil, I think of someone who for our country was dedicated enough to dare greatly. ... He showed a skill and dedication that was just exemplary. I'll miss him not only for that but just as a close personal friend."

--John Glenn, fellow astronaut who became the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962

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"I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning Neil's passing — a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew."

--Buzz Aldrin, who walked on the moon with Armstrong; via his Twitter feed ‏@TheRealBuzz

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"He was the best, and I will miss him terribly."

--Michael Collins, who piloted the command module while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the moon

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"With courage unmeasured and unbounded love for his country, he walked where man had never walked before. The moon will miss its first son of Earth."

--Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate

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"Neil Armstrong was a very personal inspiration to all of us within the astronaut office. His historic step onto the moon's surface was the foundation for many of our personal dreams to become astronauts. The only thing that outshone his accomplishments was his humility about those accomplishments. We will miss him as a friend, mentor, explorer and ambassador for the American spirit of ingenuity."

--Bob Behnken, chief of NASA's Astronaut Office

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"Neil Armstrong understood that we should reach beyond the stars. His 'one giant leap for mankind' was taken by a giant of a man."

--U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who flew on the space shuttle Columbia in 1986, just one month before the Challenger accident

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"He was Mr. Space, the one who really opened that frontier. ...I'm sure if Neil Armstrong was watching the landing of Curiosity, he would have been cheering that next step to what he had done."

--Charles Elachi, Jet Propulsion Laboratory director

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"Neil inspired generations of Americans to believe that as a nation we are capable of achieving greatness that only comes with determination, perseverance and hard work. As a true pioneer, his one small step showed all mankind the great feats we can accomplish when we set ourselves to the task. While Neil is no longer with us, his spirit and his legacy of American achievement and national pride will live forever."

--Leon E. Panetta, secretary of Defense

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"Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."

--Armstrong's family

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