Nixon’s Unused Speech: If Neil Armstrong Died on the Moon — Rest in Peace

April 20, 2009

apollo_11_1969From In July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon. The following speech, revealed in 1999, was prepared by Nixon’s then speechwriter, William Safire, to be used in the event of a disaster that would maroon the astronauts on the moon:

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.


Presidents come and presidents go; you only get one Nixon in your life.

For me, there will only ever be a single President in that network of neurons holding the template for all Presidents and that is Richard Milhous Nixon, American. He embodied all the contradictions of the office and his own obsessive personality in a time of great national crisis. he brought the word “Shakespearean” into casual use when discussing the arch of his  1 and 1/2 terms of office.

If you are too young to have had direct experience of Nixon, you may wonder who is this Angry Irishman with the jowls and eternal 5 o’clock shadow?  What does Nixon have to do with everyday life, today? time-nixon

I’d direct you to Rick Perlstein’s outstanding Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America for the answers to those questions. Relive the thrilling days of yesteryear when “there was music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air” in the Amerikkka of 1969.

Then rent the real Frost/Nixon Interviews from 1977 (available through Netflix) and see what Ron Howard’s mega-hit movie was really about.


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