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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 20, 1999
                         SAMUEL P. LANGLEY MEDAL

            Also, Stresses Personal Commitment to Space Program

Washington, DC -- In recognition of their brave, historic 1969 mission to the moon, Vice President Gore today awarded the crew of Apollo 11 -- Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins -- the Samuel P. Langley medal, the highest honor bestowed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents.

On May 25, 1961, President Kennedy made a public commitment to land an American on the Moon by the end of the decade. On July 16, 1969, a Saturn V rocket blasted off from Kennedy Space center carrying the crew of Apollo 11. Four days later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, aboard the 'Eagle' Lunar Module, touched down on the surface of the Moon, making history.

"Hundreds of years from now, when historians are chronicling the history of the 20th Century, I believe they will conclude that one of the most significant decisions we made was to send a man to the moon," Vice President Gore said. "One poet has written: 'there is no path; we create the path as we walk.' That is true of the people we honor today -- who blazed a path farther than any we had known, and made President Kennedy's vision a reality."

In his remarks at the National Air and Space Museum, the Vice President stressed his commitment to the space program.

"I am deeply committed to an aggressive, forward-looking space program," Vice President Gore said, "A space program that dares to push the limits of the heavens."

The Samuel P. Langley Medal was established by the Board of Regents in 1908, at the suggestion of Dr. Alexander Graham Bell. The medal honors the memory of Samuel Langley, the third secretary of the Smithsonian and a pioneer in early aviation. Previous recipients include Charles Lindbergh, Robert Goddard, Alan Shepard, Wernher von Braun, and the Wright Brothers, who were the first to receive the medal in 1909.