Your footprints will remain on the moon as a constant reminder to all of your courage and the achievements we can all accomplish if we direct our will towards it.
I am thankful that the Apollo 11 mission was successful and that we can celebrate the first of a series of successful moon landings and not rather, that this rather beautiful and poignant speech would have been given:
I feel that this letter, the speech that was never made, gives the best tribute to the remarkable courage of both Armstrong and Aldrin, and the skill and will of NASA and the American people who almost fifty years ago embarked on an adventure that would take humans for the first (and currently the last) time into interplanetary space.
“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.”
– An undelivered speech for President Nixon, written by his Chief of Staff, William Safire. July 1969.