Obama honors Apollo 11 crew on 40th anniversary

President Obama pledged to continue supporting NASA’s space programs as he met with Apollo 11’s three-man crew to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the mission’s trip to the moon.

The president said the country “continues to draw inspiration” from what Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins accomplished in 1969. Only the pilot Collins did not walk on the moon.

Obama hailed their historic achievement, saying he thinks “all of us recall the moment in which mankind finally was untethered from this planet and was able to explore the stars.”

The courage and heroism of the entire NASA family helped lift the sights of the U.S. and the world, he said.

In mentioning Charles Bolden, the new NASA administrator, the president said he is "confident that they are going to be doing everything that they can in the decade to come to continue the inspirational mission of NASA.

“But I think it's fair to say that the touchstone for excellence in exploration and discovery is always going to be represented by the men of Apollo 11,” Obama said.

Obama said his efforts at education reform are critical to continuing the work of NASA.

“One of the things that I've committed to doing as president is making sure that math and science are cool again, and that we once again keep the goal by 2020 of having the highest college graduation rates of any country on Earth, especially in the math and science fields,” Obama said.