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Neil Armstrong Sons Respond to First Man Controversy: Not ‘Anti-American in the Slightest’

There has been a controversy bouncing around the internet about the space drama First Man.

According to its detractors, the film is not respectful to America and astronaut Neil Armstrong because the moment from the 1969 moon landing where Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin plant the American flag is not featured in the film.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was not at all pleased and called the whole thing “total lunacy.”

Yet, according to Armstrong’s sons — Rick and Mark — as well as author of the book First Man,  James R. Hanson, the whole controversy seems to be spreading mostly among people who haven’t seen the film which they said was definitely not “anti-American.”

Here is the statement in full, as provided to  The Hollywood Reporter:

We’ve read a number of comments about the film today and specifically about the absence of the flag planting scene, made largely by people who haven’t seen the movie. As we’ve seen it multiple times, we thought maybe we should weigh in.

This is a film that focuses on what you don’t know about Neil Armstrong. It’s a film that focuses on things you didn’t see or may not remember about Neil’s journey to the moon. The filmmakers spent years doing extensive research to get at the man behind the myth, to get at the story behind the story. It’s a movie that gives you unique insight into the Armstrong family and fallen American Heroes like Elliot See and Ed White. It’s a very personal movie about our dad’s journey, seen through his eyes.

This story is human and it is universal. Of course, it celebrates an America achievement. It also celebrates an achievement “for all mankind,” as it says on the plaque Neil and Buzz left on the moon. It is a story about an ordinary man who makes profound sacrifices and suffers through intense loss in order to achieve the impossible.

Although Neil didn’t see himself that way, he was an American hero. He was also an engineer and a pilot, a father and a friend, a man who suffered privately through great tragedies with incredible grace. This is why, though there are numerous shots of the American flag on the moon, the filmmakers chose to focus on Neil looking back at the earth, his walk to Little West Crater, his unique, personal experience of completing this journey, a journey that has seen so many incredible highs and devastating lows.

In short, we do not feel this movie is anti-American in the slightest. Quite the opposite. But don’t take our word for it. We’d encourage everyone to go see this remarkable film and see for themselves.

Watch trailer above, via Universal Pictures

[image via screengrab]

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