A somber document has recently been discovered in the White House archives. The speech, titled "In the Event of Moon Disaster", was prepared by President Nixon’s speech writer Bill Safire. As the title suggests, the unused speech was prepared should the unthinkable happen and the Lunar Module Eagle malfunction and not be able to reconnect with the Command Module Columbia during the Apollo 11 moon landing mission.
"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.”
“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.”
As the speech concluded, an allusion to Rupert Brooke’s First World War poem The Soldier was presented.
“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.”
Fortunately President Nixon never had to call Buzz Aldrin's or Neil Armstrong's wife and then address the Nation and the World with the chilling announcement. Likely, our space exploration and moon landing missions to follow would have been decidedly different.