JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Say what you will about the man--I have said a lot in my time since 1970--Richard Nixon was ready to appeal to compassionate hearts in America and around the world had the Apollo 11 lunar mission ended in tragedy on the Moon. The speech ("In the Event of Moon Disaster") was written for Nixon by speechwriter William Safire (1929-2009, later NYT columnist and social recorder and lexicographer) and delivered to presidential assistant H.R. Haldeman (1926-1993, and White House Chief of Staff, 1969-1973) a few days before the lunar landing, 18 July 1969. It was the contingency address, written for Nixon to address the nation in the event that Apollo 11 had a fatal accident on the Moon or couldn't return to Earth. Its a very good speech.
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.