In conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Jr., Michael Collins and Friendship 7 commander John H. Glenn, Jr., will be awarded Congressional Gold Medals honoring their historic achievements.
President Obama on Friday signed into law the New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal Act authorizing the gold medals and national bronze duplicates struck by the United Sates Mint and offered for sale to the public.
"The Apollo 11 mission inspired a generation to pursue careers in science and engineering, and to believe in the power of America," commented Rep. Alan Grayson, who introduced the House version of the act that passed on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. "In that moment, these astronauts represented America’s destiny, a destiny shared by the thousands of men and women who worked to make it happen."
"Four decades ago, our nation landed men on the moon — fulfilling the human dream of boundless flight," said Sen. Bill Nelson, who proposed the Senate version which also passed on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. "Neil Armstrong promised us that it was — ‘One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’"
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first human to take that first "small step for man" with Lunar Landing Module pilot Buzz Aldrin stepping on the moon’s surface right behind him. Michael Collins piloted the command module, Columbia, in lunar orbit and helped his fellow Apollo 11 astronauts complete their mission.
John Glenn has the distinction of being the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962.
Proceeds from the sale of the bronze medals are to be deposited into United States Mint Public Enterprise Fund.