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There was a chance that the first men to walk on the moon's surface might never return.
That grim prospect, though ultimately unrealized, wasn't lost on some of the most important people eagerly watching astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin venture forth into space during NASA's historic Apollo 11 landing.
Contingency - Speech - Years - President - Richard
In a contingency speech written almost exactly 50 years ago for President Richard Nixon, titled 'IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER,' speechwriter William Safire opined on the hypothetical loss of the astronauts.
'Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace,' reads the opening paragraph to the speech.
Men - Neil - Armstrong - Edwin - Aldrin
'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.'
Documents - Nixon - Address - Calls - Astronauts
According to the documents, Nixon's address would have followed calls to the astronauts' wives which the speech describes as 'widows-to-be' and set forth instructions for a clergy member.
'A clergyman should adopt the same procedure as a burial at sea, commending their souls to 'the deepest of the deep,' concluding with the Lord's...
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