WASHINGTON, July 20 -- President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore hosted White House ceremonies Wednesday to mark the 25th anniversary of the world's first manned moon landing. On hand in the filled-to-capacity East Room of the White House was the history-making three-man Apollo 11 crew -- Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins -- and 23 other astronauts who were part of the lunar-landing program. Armstrong, who on July 20, 1969, became the first man in history to step on the moon's surface, quoted another aviation pioneer. 'Wilbur Wright noted that the only bird that could talk was the parrot, and he didn't fly very well. So I'll be brief,' Armstrong said. But Armstrong, who is now involved in private space endeavors, changed his tone to tell a group of students in the audience, 'We leave you much that is undone.' 'There are great ideas undiscovered, breakthroughs available to those who can remove one of truth's protective layers. There are places to go beyond belief. Those challenges are yours -- in many fields, not the least of which is space, because there lies human destiny,' Armstrong said. Also on hand was Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, the first American to orbit the earth, and Sergei Krikolov, the Russian cosmonaut who earlier this year flew aboard the space shuttle. Clinton used the occasion to tout the building and eventual launch of an international space station. 'Sergei's mission was an important first step toward full Russian partnership in what must be our next great mission, the international space station.
This permanent orbiting space laboratory, to be built with help from 14 nations, will hasten discoveries in fields from the environment to medicine to computers,' Clinton said. 'We should also remember that the space station holds great promise for us here at home as it strengthens our largest export sector, aerospace technology,' he added. Clinton also took a moment to remember the deaths that occurred aboard the Apollo 1, which exploded on the launch pad, and the Shuttle Challenger, which exploded in middair in January 1986. 'On this day of celebration, we must never forget the deep debt we owe to those brave Americans. Our thoughts should also be with their families and their loved ones, for the sacrifice they have given helped to bring us all to new horizons,' Clinton said.