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Private memorial service planned for Friday in US for Neil Armstrong, 1st man on the moon

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CINCINNATI - A private service is planned in Cincinnati on Friday for astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.

The Ohio native died Saturday in Cincinnati at age 82. No other information was released immediately about the service, other than that it would be private.

There have been preliminary discussions about a national memorial service for Armstrong, who often shunned publicity in the decades after his historic mission, but a family spokesman said there were no details yet.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who is from Ohio and has called Armstrong "a good friend and adviser," will eulogize him at Friday's service.

Portman is in Tampa, Florida, for the Republican National Convention, where he is scheduled to speak Wednesday night. Spokeswoman Caitlin Dunn said his office is working on travel arrangements to get him back to Cincinnati in time for the service. The convention schedule has already been changed this week and could be further disrupted as Tropical Storm Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast.

The Museum of Natural History & Science of the Cincinnati Museum Center has an exhibit that includes a moon rock and replicas of Armstrong's Apollo 11 spacesuit and tools used on the moon. It is offering free admission through Labor Day to honour Armstrong, and more than 2,000 people visited Sunday.

Armstrong, who commanded the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, was born in Wapakoneta, in western Ohio. He is celebrated there at the Armstrong Air & Space Museum, which is planning a memorial tribute Wednesday night.

The tribute is called "Wink at the Moon." The statement Armstrong's family released upon his death requested that the public honour his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, adding "and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink." ___

Contact the reporter at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell

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