The speech Nixon had prepped for an Apollo 11 disaster

In the event the manned mission to the moon ended in disaster, President Nixon's chief speechwriter prepared a solemn text for his boss. Thankfully, he never delivered it.

One historical tidbit worth another look in the aftermath of astronaut Neil Armstrong' death on Saturday at the age of 82: The text of the speech President Richard Nixon had his staff prepare in the event of a disaster befalling Armstrong's Apollo 11 mission. The speech, dug up by The Daily, was written by then-Nixon speechwriter William Safire, who later became a columnist for the New York Times. Happily, his boss never had to give that address.

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.

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About the author

Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.

 

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