The Apollo 11 mission, 49 years ago, pushed the technology of the era to its absolute limit – and there was a significant chance it would fail.
Knowing that there was a chance that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would be stranded on the moon’s surface without being able to return to the lunar orbiter, President Nixon was ready.
Nixon’s White House speechwriter penned a powerful speech for Nixon to deliver to camera, ‘In the event of moon disaster’.
The speech by Bill Safire, was intended to be delivered to the nation, after the President made calls to Armstrong and Aldrin’s families.
The plans suggested Mission Control would then ‘close down communications’ with the Lunar Module.
The speech was never delivered after it was written on July 18, 1969.
Nixon’s planned speech
Bill Safire July 18, 1969.
IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER:
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.