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If Apollo 11 had turned tragic--The address Nixon didn't have to give
Old 04-21-2009, 10:17 PM   #1
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If Apollo 11 had turned tragic--The address Nixon didn't have to give

A typewritten note has been found among the items in the papers of Richard Nixon. It is a small bit of a history that, luckily, never was.

William Safire, Nixon's speechwriter, drafted the address two days before the moon landing, to be ready if Armstrong and Aldrin had become stranded on the moon.

The scanned-in typewritten memo from from William Safire is here.

In part:

“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 know there is no hope for their recovery but they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

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.”

I remember how these moon missions gripped my young imagination. I can only guess how I and the country would have been impacted if Armstrong and Aldrin had been left stranded on the moon. Ughh.
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Old 04-21-2009, 10:20 PM   #2
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Wow.....I guess they have a speech written for every possible outcome.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:18 AM   #3
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Wonder if Nixon had a back-up to "I am not a crook"?
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:16 AM   #4
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Back then I think we all were prepared for the loss of life in the moon missions. We nearly did with Apollo 13, but it was the first missions, Apollo 8 through 11, that were the most nerve-wracking because we'd never done that.

My first job right after college was working stress equations on the Apollo rocket, and we solved them with the best computational capabilities money could buy -- Friden hand-crancked calculators and IBM 360s with a whole 8MB of memory. I was glued to the TV during those flights.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:30 AM   #5
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Here's page one of the memo. My link in the OP goes to page 2. Apollogies for the mistake.
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