Remember when the world was young? Where things really simpler then? Do you think these times we live in now, these troubled times, are anything new? Well... Forty years ago tonight our country, and the world, were in much the same situation as we find ourselves today. People, especially Americans, felt a bit lost then, just as now. Our country seemed adrift. Wars, economic troubles, unpopular leaders, a country split by discord; left and right. And the world seemed to be going mad.
Then from space, came a message from the first people to leave our home planet. From orbit around the Moon they spoke as they began their final orbit, after which they hoped their ship would bring them home again. They gave themselves only a 50/50 chance of returning alive. The words they spoke were a surprise to everyone - NASA expected more inadequate descriptions of the scenery outside their spacecraft windows. Instead came something else.
Supposedly half the people alive on that day in 1968 heard their broadcast or watched it on TV and saw the Earth set behind the edge of the Moon. Watched as their planet with every single person alive disappeared in the distance. The message Apollo 8 sent resonated then and it resonates still, forty years later. Here's to those heroes who ventured forth, not knowing whether they would return. Who sent the right message at the right time to remind us where we come from, and to remember Christmas.
Here's to the heroes:
Commander Frank Borman
Command Module Pilot James Lovell
Lunar Module Pilot William Anders
December 24th, 1968:
- William A. Anders:
- We are now approaching lunar sunrise. And, for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 have a message that we would like to send to you.
- James A. Lovell, Jr.:
- "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."
- Frank Borman:
- "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."
- "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. "
- And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close, with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth.