Neil Armstrong: Family, friends create memorial at Cincinnati Observatory Center

CINCINNATI - Neil Armstrong’s family and friends have created a memorial to the first man to walk on the moon on a quiet hillside at the Cincinnati Observatory Center in Mount Lookout.

They marked the one-year anniversary of the American hero's death Sunday morning by gathering near an engraved granite stone and a newly planted Black Tupelo tree that will shade it and visitors in bright color for decades to come.

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The 300-pound stone came from the Brookville, Ohio, farm of Don and Gloria Riley, long-time family friends. Waynesville artist Debbie Lentz designed the engraving, which includes wildlife artist John Ruthven’s image of the Ivory-billed woodpecker , along with stars and the moon. The engraving reads:

By reaching for the stars,
you might just land on the moon

Dedicated to the memory of
Neil Armstrong
A True American Hero
From the Ivory-Bill Hunters
August 25, 2013

The memorial was the idea of Mark Armstrong, the astronaut’s youngest son and observatory trustee.

Mark Armstrong, daughter Kali Armstrong and Ruthven spoke to the gathering, which included Observatory President Mike Flick and Trustees Sen. Dick Finan, Richard Hirte, Greg Hand, Bill Ernst, Paul Callard, Mary Ronan and Frank Huss. Representing the University of Cincinnati was Fran Barrett, Chairman of the Board.

As the world watched and held its breath, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon at the climax of the Apollo 11 flight on July 20, 1969. As Armstrong stepped off the last step of the lunar module, he spoke his famous words: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Watch Armstrong step onto the moon in the player below or go to

The modest memorial and private ceremony befit Armstrong's response to his hero's standing. He protected his privacy, rarely gave interviews, rejected pleas that he go into politics and did nothing to cash in on his fame, preferring instead to live outside the spotlight.

In 1971, Armstrong took a teaching position in the University of Cincinnati Department of Aerospace Engineering. He taught for eight years and also worked on his farm in Lebanon, Ohio.

Armstrong lived his final years in Indian Hill and died at age 82 after complications from heart surgery. Armstrong was buried at sea at his request.

Read about Armstrong's life and adventures at

9 On Your Side meteorologist Sarah Walters contributed to this report

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