“…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.” —William Safire, excerpted from In the Event of Moon Disaster
Two days after the launch of the Apollo 11 rocket carrying astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins to the Moon, William Safire wrote a memo for President Nixon to read on television in the event that astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin were unable to return to Earth.
Eight short paragraphs followed by six lines of instructions detail the chilling reality of what was at stake for these brave men.
Thankfully this memo was never used.