Forty-five years ago, while the world watched as one, the United States of America set foot on the moon. It was a seminal moment not just in our country's history, but the history of all humankind.
The three brave astronauts of Apollo 11 --Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins -- took the first small steps of our giant leap into the future. And for all the years since, they and their families have served as testaments to American ingenuity and human achievement. Today, I was honored to welcome Buzz, Michael, and Neil's wife, Carol, to the White House to mark this historic anniversary -- and to thank them for serving as advocates, role models, and educators who've inspired generations of Americans -- myself included -- to dream bigger and reach higher.
Today, under Administrator Bolden's leadership, the men and women of NASA are building on that proud legacy by preparing for the next giant leap in human exploration -- including the first visits of men and women to deep space, to an asteroid, and someday to the surface of Mars -- all while partnering with America's pioneering commercial space industry in new and innovative ways.
The United States of America is stronger today thanks to the vision of President Kennedy, who set us on a course for the moon, the courage of Neil, Buzz, and Michael, who made the journey, and the spirit of service of all who've worked not only on the Apollo program, but who've dared to push the very boundaries of space and scientific discovery for all humankind.