Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The speech we would have heard if Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin couldn't return from the moon

50 years ago today, July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin embarked on the first-ever trip to the moon, where they would land days later, on July 20, before returning to earth on July 24.

Because they were risking their lives, a speech had to be prepared for President Nixon to read in the event they got stuck on the moon with no way back.

Here's the full speech, written by future New York Times columnist William Safire. The last sentence ... oh man! 😢

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 the 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 the 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.

(Photo credit: Universal History Archive/UIG/SH. Photo via Variety.)