Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin spent less than two and a half hours outside the Eagle lunar module during their visit to the Moon. Throughout that brief period of time, they busily gathered lunar materials, set up scientific experiments and photographed the desolate moonscape. While taking a pause in their hectic work schedule, Armstrong suggested that they raise the American flag. As Aldrin later recalled: "It took both of us to set it up and it was nearly a disaster ... A small telescoping arm was attached to the flagpole to keep the flag extended and perpendicular. As hard as we tried, the telescope wouldn't fully extend. Thus the flag, which should have been flat, had its own unique permanent wave." After some difficulty planting Old Glory in the lunar surface, the astronauts "finally coaxed it to remain upright." And like many intrepid explorers who had gone before them, Armstrong and Aldrin thrilled to the sight of their national banner proudly flying over new found land.
Shortly after the flag was raised, Armstrong expressed the feelings of the crew in a conversation with President Richard Nixon, who called them from the Oval Office in the White House, some 240,000 miles away. "It's a great honor and privilege for us to be here, representing not only the United States but men of peace of all nations, and with interest and a curiosity and a vision of the future."
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