Flashback: Obama Called Neil Armstrong An ‘American’ Hero

President Barack Obama talks with Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 20, 2009, on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

While the new movie First Man omits the planting of the American flag during the moon landing, former President Barack Obama called astronaut Neil Armstrong “among the greatest of American heroes.”

Following Armstrong’s death in 2012, Obama released a statement reading, “Neil was among the greatest of American heroes – not just of his time, but of all time.”

“When he and his fellow crew members lifted off aboard Apollo 11 in 1969, they carried with them the aspirations of an entire nation. They set out to show the world that the American spirit can see beyond what seems unimaginable — that with enough drive and ingenuity, anything is possible,” Obama also stated.

First Man, an upcoming movie that tells the story of the American moon landing and Neil Armstrong’s life, does not include the iconic moments in which Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin plant the American flag on the surface of the moon.

Actor Ryan Gosling, who plays Armstrong, defended the flag-planting omission, telling The Telegraph that the moon landing “transcended countries and borders,” and that it was a “human achievement,” as opposed to just an American one.

Gosling, who is Canadian, also said that he might have a “cognitive bias” since he’s not American.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio sounded off on the exclusion of the iconic scene on Twitter Friday, saying, “This is total lunacy. And a disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together.”

“The American people paid for that mission, on rockets built by Americans, with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn’t a UN mission,” he added.

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