President Nixon’s speech in case two Apollo 11 astronauts were stranded on the moon.

Flights to the moon were incredibly risky. Even though NASA and its contractors, staff and astronauts prepared as best they could, there was always the possibility of disaster. Did you see Apollo 13? There’s a good example. But the first moon landing was Apollo 11. Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman realized the president ought to have a speech to deliver in case men were marooned on the moon. He conveyed his thoughts to presidential speechwriter William Safire.

Safire then wrote a profound contingency speech, to be delivered by President Richard Nixon on TV, in the event Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin couldn’t leave the moon. The speech was discovered in the Nixon archives some 30 years after Apollo 11’s successful voyage. I had not seen this until last night. I thought I’d share it with you. The source for all this info is

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.


About Michael McKown

Avatar photoJournalist, specialty magazine editor/publisher for 22 years, entrepreneur, co-founder of America's largest working dog organization, producer/director, and co-founder of Ghostwriters Central in 2002.