National Leaders and Colleagues Mourn Neil Armstrong

Obama, Romney and Aldrin react to Armstrong's death

By Patrick Hickey Jr.
|  Sunday, Aug 26, 2012  |  Updated 8:09 AM EDT
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In Memoriam

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Armstrong's massive feat changed the world forever and inspired everyone from world leaders to musicians.

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Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Paul Ryan were among the national leaders and colleagues who paid tribute to the passing of astronaut Neil Armstrong on Saturday.

Hailed as a hero, innovator and friend, his accomplishments made him a legend in his own time. Armstrong preferred to keep out of the public eye but here's what those in public life had to say about the first man to walk on the moon:

Barack Obama: 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.

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Mitt Romney: Neil Armstrong today takes his place in the hall of heroes. 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."

Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin: …My friend Neil took the small step but giant leap that changed the world and will forever be remembered as a landmark moment in human history. I had truly hoped that in 2019, we would be standing together along with our colleague Mike Collins to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing. Regrettably, this is not to be. Neil will most certainly be there with us in spirit. On behalf of the Aldrin family, we extend our deepest condolences to Carol and the entire Armstrong family. I will miss my friend Neil as I know our fellow citizens and people around world will miss this foremost aviation and space pioneer. May he Rest in Peace.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden: As we enter this next era of space exploration, we do so standing on the shoulders of Neil Armstrong. We mourn the passing of a friend, fellow astronaut and true American hero.

Paul Ryan: We lost a great American today. And I just think it's only fitting and proper that we just take a second to pay respect for Neil Armstrong -- We lost him today. This is a man who proved that we can imagine big things, who showed that in America you can set very lofty goals and accomplish them. Neil Armstrong is the epitome of American vision, American power, American creativity and how we can set the horizons and achieve our goals.

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta: 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.

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