As a congressman, U.S. Rep. James Rogan (R-Glendale) got to meet with
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins -- the Apollo 11 astronauts
who had become heroes to him.
The encounter took place in July 1999, at a breakfast celebrating the
30th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing. It was there, Rogan said, that
he discovered none of the astronauts had received Congressional Gold
"I was absolutely flabbergasted to find out Congress had never done
that for them," Rogan said, "nothing to recognize their millennial
A Rogan bill seeking medals for the astronauts was approved by the
House Tuesday and sent to the Senate.
Republican Mike DeWine of Ohio has introduced parallel legislation in
The first of these medals -- meant to commemorate highly distinguished
achievements and show national appreciation -- was awarded to George
Washington by the Continental Congress in 1776. Over the years, about 250
gold medals have been awarded to people, including actor Bob Hope and
singer Frank Sinatra.
None of the astronauts could be reached for comment.
Rogan said the Apollo 11 astronauts deserve medals for their courage
and pioneering efforts. "These three Americans, they were Columbus,
Lindbergh and Galileo all rolled into three people," he said. "If I have
any regrets about this, it's that this is 31 years too late."