Author Topic: John Glenn, Apollo 11 astronauts awarded Congressional Gold Medals  (Read 770 times)

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John Glenn, Apollo 11 astronauts awarded Congressional Gold Medals

The first American astronaut to orbit the Earth and the crew of the first moon landing were bestowed by Congress with its highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, during a ceremony held in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday (Nov. 16).

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WASHINGTON -- NASA Administrator Charles Bolden made these remarks
today during a ceremony in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, where
leaders of Congress honored astronauts John Glenn, Neil Armstrong,
Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins with congressional gold medals:

"As we embark upon the next great chapter of human space exploration,
we stand on the shoulders of the extraordinary men we recognize
today. Those of us who have had the privilege to fly in space
followed the trail they forged.

America's leadership in space and the confidence that we can go
farther into the unknown and achieve great things as a people rests
on the achievements of these brave men.

When, 50 years ago this year, President Kennedy challenged the nation
to reach the moon, to 'take longer strides' toward a 'great new
American enterprise,' these men were the human face of those words.
From Mercury and Gemini, on through our landings on the Moon in the
Apollo Program, their actions unfolded the will of a nation for the
greater achievement of humankind.

Today, another young President has challenged us to reach for new
heights and plan an ambitious mission to Mars. Just as we called on
the four individuals we honor today to carry out our early
achievements in space, we now call on a new generation of explorers
to go where we have never gone before.

As we honor these heroes, I want to recognize the hundreds of
thousands of dedicated NASA employees and industry partners who
contributed to the incredible success of the Mercury, Gemini and
Apollo programs and all that has followed, and all that is yet to

I also want to thank our Congress. Our nation is a better place
because of more than a half century of strong, bipartisan support for
NASA's work in human exploration, science and aeronautics.

Five members of the most recent Astronaut Candidate Class are with us
today to pay tribute to the Congressional Gold Medal honorees, and
build on their accomplishments to make similar, lasting contributions
to our nation's space program.

This new group of astronauts will redefine space exploration in the
years to come and continue to honor the legacy of John Glenn, Neil
Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

It is a lasting legacy - a legacy that continues to unfold and
transform our modern world.

The inspiration these four have provided to generations isn't
something we can measure, but we can feel it in our hearts. As a
nation, we would not be the same without them and their bravery,
their sense of duty and dedication to public service and their great
skill at thinking on their feet.

They changed the course of history and helped our nation to achieve
the bigger things to which our greater nature aspires. We owe them
our humblest gratitude.

On behalf of NASA and all the astronauts past and present, I
congratulate and thank each of you - John, Neil, Buzz, and Mike, our
Congressional Gold Medal recipients."

For biographies of the astronauts, visit: