Aug 26, 2012 No Comments ›› Chuck Biscuits
Excerpted from The Telegraph: State funerals, held in the US capital Washington DC, are steeped in tradition and usually only held for former presidents, the last being Gerald Ford in 2006.
The last non-president to be granted one was Gen Douglas MacArthur, the Second World War and Korean War soldier, in 1964, five years before Armstrong landed on the moon.
Such an event typically involves pall-bearers from five branches of the US Armed Forces, a series of artillery salutes, a fly-past and a number of bands and choirs.
The flag-draped coffin is taken in a horse-drawn gun-carriage and placed in the Capitol rotunda for a public viewing, and a service is held at the Washington National Cathedral.
Bill Johnson, a Republican congressman from Armstrong’s home state of Ohio, led calls for the astronaut to get a similar honour.
“I ask President Obama to hold a state funeral for Neil Armstrong so that every American may pay tribute to this groundbreaking hero,” he said. “His first step on the moon showed the world that Americans can do anything.”
In May 2010 Armstrong had criticised Mr Obama’s vision for the future of space travel, appearing before a Senate committee to say he believed the president had been “poorly advised.”
Armstrong was unhappy with the failure to replace Nasa’s defunct space shuttle programme.
It was a rare public appearance by the astronaut.