WASHINGTON, Sept 13 (Reuters) - U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first person to set foot on the moon, was praised in a memorial service at the National Cathedral on Thursday as a humble hero who led mankind into space.
Mourners who packed the vast cathedral to mark Armstrong’s death last month heard him described as embodying the best of American values and a dedicated pilot who shunned the limelight after the historic moon landing in 1969.
“He embodied all that is good and all that is great about America. Neil, wherever you are, you again have shown us a way to the stars,” Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon as the commander of the 1972 Apollo 17 mission, said in a tribute from the pulpit.
“As you soar through the heavens where even eagles dare not go, you can now truly put out your hand and touch the face of God.”
The service included the Navy hymn “Eternal Father Strong To Save” and the Frank Sinatra standard “Fly Me To The Moon” performed by Grammy-winning jazz performer Diana Krall.
“Fly me to the moon, let me swing among those stars, let me see what spring is like, on Jupiter and Mars,” Krall sang as she accompanied herself on a piano. (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Bill Trott)