Congressional Gold Medal

The United States Navy Band plays the prelude to the ceremony. Also in the picture, the flag Neil Armstrong planted on the moon in July 1969.

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Speaker John Boehner presided over the November 16 Congressional Gold Medal ceremony honoring NASA astronauts.

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Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong standing beside the flag the crew of Apollo 11 placed on the moon.

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The four men are the first astronauts to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. From L to R: Michael Collins and Leader Nancy Pelosi; Neil Armstrong and Speaker John Boehner; Senator Harry Reid and John Glenn; Senator Mitch McConnell and Buzz Aldrin.

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John Boehner presents the Congressional Gold Medal to Neil Armstrong.

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The first human to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong.

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The first American to orbit Earth, John Glenn, and Apollo 11 crew member Buzz Aldrin.

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Former United States Senator John Glenn.

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The New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal, front.

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New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal, reverse.

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Congress honors NASA astronauts

Four legends of American spaceflight received the highest award bestowed by Congress on civilians at a ceremony in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.  Speaker of the House John Boehner summed up the event saying, “I’m going to say what everyone is thinking—this is pretty cool.”

Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., Michael Collins, and John H. Glenn, Jr. received the Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony presided over by Speaker Boehner on November 16.  Presented to the four “in recognition of their significant contributions to society,” they are the first astronauts to receive the award.

Glenn, a former United States Senator from Ohio, became the first American to orbit Earth in 1962. He credited the American spirit of “curiosity coupled with education,” along with his colleagues at NASA, for the success of the U.S. space program. “We share this recognition with our great team,” he said.

Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins—the crew of Apollo 11—answered President John F. Kennedy’s call to safely land an American on the moon during the summer of 1969. “They led the way into this new ocean,” said Ranking Member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Eddie Bernice Johnson.