Letters of Note, an incredible site that describes itself as “a blog-based archive of fascinating correspondence,” recently chronicled a speech prepared for President Nixon, which was to be read to the American public in the event that NASA’s Apollo 11 mission ended in tragedy and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were to be unable to return home.
Here is a little more background behind this fascinating document:
On July 18 of 1969, as the world waited anxiously for Apollo 11 to land safely on the surface of the Moon, speechwriter William Safire imagined the worst case scenario as he expertly wrote the following sombre memo to President Nixon’s Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman. Its contents: a contingency plan, in the form of a speech to be read out by Nixon should astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become stranded on the moon, never to return, followed by some brief instructions relating to its broadcast. Luckily for all those involved, the memo was never needed.
Discovered nearly 30 years after Apollo 11′s successful mission, the original document can now be found in the National Archives. As such, a perfect scan of the document allows it to be presented below in, essentially, its original form:
(click the picture for a closer look)
Here is a transcript of the speech if you struggle reading that typewriter font or something like that:
To: H. R. Haldeman
From: 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 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.
PRIOR TO THE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT:
The President should telephone each of the widows-to-be.
AFTER THE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT, AT THE POINT WHEN NASA ENDS COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE MEN:
A clergyman should adopt the same procedure as a burial at sea, commending their souls to “the deepest of the deep,” concluding with the Lord’s Prayer.
Pretty amazing stuff isn’t it?! I thought so. However, what I don’t think is that Blogbdon should do much more of these “educational” type posts because they’re just bad for you…so, to reinforce this stance, here’s the new trailer for the upcoming James Franco/Danny McBride (Kenny Fucking Powers)/Nathalie Portman movie called “Your Highness:”
[via (the fantastic) Letters of Note]