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Hundreds attend Neil Armstrong memorial service in Wapakoneta

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WAPAKONETA, Ohio - Several hundred people crowded the lawn in front of the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, to pay respects and memorialize their hometown hero, astronaut Neil Armstrong.

Armstrong died on Saturday as a result of complications from cardiovascular surgery in Cincinnati. The former astronaut and first man to set foot on the moon was 82 years old.

The "Wink at the Moon" Memorial, as it was called, started with two older planes flying overhead. They were the kind of planes Armstrong would have first started flying on.

Current NASA astronaut Gregory Johnson remembered how much Armstrong was admired at NASA. He says he was only a child when his family watched Armstrong become the first man to land on the moon in 1969.

Johnson also remembered how modest Armstrong was when he met with other astronauts in training.

"We were really excited, we thought he would be telling us about his first steps on the moon and we talked for 45 minutes and never once did he mention it. He was humble," said Johnson.

Wapakoneta area officials related how much Armstrong was willing to help the area. They also say they were impressed by how modest he was about his historic accomplishment.

Since Armstrong's death was announced Saturday, museum officials say they've seen a marked increase in the number of visitors who have come in to see the Gemini 7 capsule Armstrong used as well as one of his space suits. The museum also features several of the planes that Armstrong trained in over the years.

A museum official said Armstrong didn't want the museum to have his full name, "Neil Armstrong Space Museum." Instead, Armstrong suggested changing the name to "Armstrong Air and Space Museum" to take the attention off of him and show more from Armstrong's pre-astronaut flying days.

The memorial was called "Wink at the Moon" because that's how Armstrong's family suggested people could best pay tribute to Armstrong, by remembering him when they looked up at the moon, and to wink in his honor.

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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