Buzz Aldrin Posts Photo of American Flag Planting on Moon After 'First Man' Movie Omitting Scene Sparks Controversy

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin posted a photo of him planting the American flag on the moon after an upcoming film starring actor Ryan Gosling sparked controversy over its decision to not show the flag planting.

Aldrin, who joined astronaut Neil Armstrong as the first men on the moon, posted two photos on Twitter on Sunday of the American flag being planted on the moon. Aldrin never mentioned the film, First Man, by name but added the hashtags, "Proud to be an American," "Freedom," "Honor," "One Nation," "Apollo 11," "July 1969," and "Road to Apollo 50."

On Memorial Day in 2015, Aldrin posted another photo from the moon landing and the Air Force veteran called being able to salute the flag on the moon his "proudest moment."

First Man, a biopic about Armstrong that's set to be released in October, drew criticism for not including the scene where Armstrong and Aldrin plant the American flag on the moon.

"I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that's how we chose to view it. I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible," Gosling told The Daily Telegraph.

Senator Marco Rubio called leaving the scene out of the film "total lunacy" and a "disservice" to not remind people of what can be achieved by working together.

"The American people paid for that mission, on rockets built by Americans, with American technology [and] carrying American astronauts," Rubio tweeted.

Fox News' Fox & Friends co-host Pete Hegseth said that landing on the moon was an "American achievement bar none" during a Friday segment of the show.

"We achieved that because we were in a race, we were in a race against one other country," Hegseth said. "You don't do that as a global community, you do that as a hedge against this communist threat which was the Soviet Union."

However, Rick and Mark Armstrong, Neil's sons, denied that the film tried to diminish America's accomplishment and said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter that the story is human and universal and "of course, it celebrates an American achievement."

"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," the statement added.

Buzz Aldrin American flag moon landing first man
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin attends an event marking the 60th anniversary of NASA at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., on July 23, 2018. Days after an upcoming film titled "First Man" drew criticism for omitting the scene where Armstrong and Aldrin plant the American flag on the moon, Aldrin posted photos of the moment on Twitter. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The sons, who have seen the film multiple times, added that there actually are numerous scenes that show the American flag on the moon, only the act of planting it there is missing.

Director Damien Chazelle explained that the decision to not show the actual planting of the flag wasn't politically motivated, but was motivated by a desire to show viewers the "unseen, unknown" aspects of the mission.

Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969, and carried Armstrong, who was the commander, Aldrin, who served as the lunar module pilot, and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins. The landing took place on July 20, with Armstrong going first and Aldrin following him about 20 minutes later.

Left behind on the moon were the flag and commemorative medallions with the names of the three Apollo 1 astronauts who died in a launch pad fire and two cosmonauts who also died in accidents, according to NASA. The astronauts also left a plaque that had messages from 73 countries and the names of congressional and NASA leaders.