Congressional Gold Medal
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.