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Private service for Neil Armstrong held Friday

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Outside Armstrong's private memorial service in Indian Hill Outside Armstrong's private memorial service in Indian Hill
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Former astronauts were among the friends and family who attended a private memorial service in Indian Hill Friday for astronaut Neil Armstrong. 

Armstrong, the first man on the moon, died Saturday in Cincinnati at age 82.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says he remembers Armstrong fondly. "The ceremony was absolutely beautiful."

Bolden says Armstrong is remembered as an incredible human being, an explorer and a man who shunned publicity. "If you knew Neil he would not be happy that we brought all these people out to celebrate his life and legacy."

As the ceremony ended a Navy strike fighter squadron flew overhead in the "missing man" formation. Bolden says Armstrong would have approved. "Neil would have appreciated that and he would have been down here explaining that those were F-18's and how much power they had and everything else."

The flyover was in tribute to Armstrong's Navy pilot service that included combat missions in Korea.

The service also included a Navy ceremonial guard.

Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders says he remembers Armstrong as a dear friend of great character. "I always credited Neil with being a very wise man and his actions before the lunar landing, but particularly after the lunar landing where he didn't try to commercialize on his fame."

Juri Taalman never met Armstrong, but was so impressed by the lunar landing in 1969 that he made a promise to his brand new bride.  "That if I survived Neil Armstrong  that I would come back and see his last journey." Taalman flew to Cincinnati from Connecticut when he heard about the memorial ceremony, but didn't want to go in out of respect for the Armstrong family.  

U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R) OH says Armstrong's journey began long  before his one small step. "As a teenager he was making model airplanes, creating his own wind tunnel in the basement of his home, talked about some of his antics on the golf course." Portman described Armstrong as a good friend and advisor.

No guest list was released but among some 10 former astronauts was space pioneer John Glenn and Armstrong's fellow Apollo astronauts, including James Lovell, Eugene Cernan and William Anders.

Cernan and Lovell promoted Armstrong's children's health initiative at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center on Friday morning and announced they are helping launch a children's health fund in memory of Armstrong.

Armstrong's family released the following statement Thursday:

To everyone who has so graciously remembered Neil Armstrong:

The outpouring of condolences and kind wishes from around the world overwhelms us and we appreciate it more than words can express.  

Many have asked if a memorial has been designated.  If anyone wishes to make a memorial in his name, we suggest, in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to one of these worthy organizations: 

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Neil Armstrong New Frontiers Initiative
PO Box 5202
Cincinnati, OH 45201-5202
www.cincinnatichildrens.org

Telluride Foundation
Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund
620 E. Colorado, Suite 106
PO Box 4222
Telluride, CO 81435
www.telluridefoundation.org/index.php?page=donate-here

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Neil Armstrong Scholarship Fund
AIAA Foundation
1801 Alexander Bell Drive
Suite 500
Reston, VA  20191
www.aiaa.org

Cincinnati Children's Hospital thanked Armstrong on their blog by saying, "This gift cements his legacy of leadership, generosity and passion for exploring new frontiers and will make him a hero to new generations of courageous physicians, researchers and patients. We are honored that Mr. Armstrong believed strongly in the mission of Cincinnati Children's and gifts in his honor will help us improve the lives of young people around the world."

A public memorial service will be held for Armstrong at the Washington National Cathedral at 10 a.m. on Sept. 13. The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of Washington, and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, among other dignitaries, will honor Armstrong.

Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969. 

Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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