Buzz Aldrin Salutes President Trump After Being Honored at SOTU

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
February 6, 2019Updated: February 6, 2019

Former NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin made an appearance at the State of the Union (SOTU) on Feb. 5, and the president took the opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Aldrin, who was wearing an American flag-themed tie, received a standing ovation after President Donald Trump recognized him during his address. The former astronaut stood up and saluted the president as he was being introduced.

“In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon. Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag: Buzz Aldrin,” Trump said during his address.

“This year American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets. In the 20th century, America saved freedom, transformed science, redefined the middle-class, and when you get down to it, there’s nothing anywhere in the world that can compete with America.”

Following the address, Aldrin, 89, wrote in a Twitter post that it was an “honor to be at the State of the Union.”

“What an honor to be at the #StateoftheUnion, and to hear @POTUS resolve to pursue America’s greatness in space. #PresidentTrump – thank you for your commitment: ‘This year American astronauts will go back into space on American rockets!’” Aldrin wrote on Feb. 6.

Aldrin, who was the second man on the moon, served as a lunar module pilot in the Apollo 11 mission. He resigned from NASA in 1971 after logging 289 hours and 53 minutes in space.

Along with Aldrin, President Trump also honored three World War II veterans—Pfc. Joseph Reilly, Staff Sgt. Irving Locker and Sgt. Herman Zeitchik—who were seated behind the astronaut.

Trump Calls for Unity in SOTU Address

In his annual speech, Trump urged lawmakers to put country over party, choose greatness over gridlock, and unite to revitalize the nation.

“There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we have the courage, together, to seize it. Victory is not winning for our party,” he said. “Victory is winning for our country.”

Trump laid out his agenda for the country and addressed a range of topics including the economy, trade, criminal justice reform, healthcare, infrastructure, national security, and border security.

He also took the opportunity to reject the encroachment of socialism into America while he was making comments about Venezuela. He spoke about the economic collapse in Venezuela and condemned the brutal socialist regime of Nicolás Maduro, saying that his socialist policies drove oil-rich Venezuela into “a state of abject poverty and despair.”

“America was founded on liberty and independence–not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free,” Trump said.

“Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.”

Epoch Times reporter Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report

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