CINCINNATI: Two Apollo astronauts who flew on lunar missions will promote the Neil Armstrong children’s health memorial fund ahead of a private service today in Cincinnati for the late astronaut.
Eugene Cernan and James Lovell will be at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center this morning to talk about the new Neil Armstrong New Frontiers Initiative. The family of the first man to walk on the moon has suggested contributions in his name to that benefit or to two scholarship funds.
Cernan flew two moon missions and is the last man to have walked on the moon. Lovell’s four space missions included commanding the harrowing Apollo 13 flight that was recounted in his book and depicted in the popular movie starring Tom Hanks.
Armstrong died Saturday at age 82. The service today will be at a private club. A complete list hasn’t been released, but other attendees will include Apollo astronaut William Anders and current NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, will eulogize Armstrong.
A family spokesman emphasized that today’s service is by invitation only and is closed to the public and news media. A public, national memorial service in Washington is being planned “in the next two weeks,” according to a statement Thursday.
Cincinnati Children’s spokesman Jim Feur said the hospital hasn’t decided where to target the Armstrong fund, but this morning, Cernan and Lovell will be joined by patient Shane DiGiovanna, 14. He has a rare tissue disease and received a cochlear implant that allows him to hear.
A NASA scientist developed the implant.
The Armstrong family asked that instead of flowers, memorial contributions go to the children’s health initiative, a Telluride Foundation scholarship in his name or to a scholarship fund in his name at The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Astronaut Gregory Johnson was among speakers Wednesday night at a memorial service in Armstrong’s western Ohio hometown of Wapakoneta. The evening service was at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum.
Today’s service comes the same day of a rare “blue moon.” It occurs when there’s a second full moon in one calendar month, and won’t happen again until July 2015.
Armstrong’s family requested, when announcing his death, that when people “see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”