Friday, July 20, 2007

July 20, 1969:

Nixon Calls the Moon

Thirty-eight years ago, President Nixon made the longest long-distance phone call in history when he spoke to Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the surface of the Moon. Kennedy got the effort going (see May 25), Johnson pushed the program hard, but Nixon got to make the call and leave his signature on the plaques left on the lunar landers. Such are the vagaries of politics.

Nixon: Hello Neil and Buzz, I am talking to you by telephone from the Oval Room at the White House, and this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made from the White House. I just can’t tell you how proud we all are of what you have done. For every American this has to be the proudest day of our lives, and for people all over the world I am sure that they, too, join with Americans in recognizing what an immense feat this is. Because of what you have done the heavens have become a part of man’s world, and as you talk to us from the Sea of Tranquility, it inspires us to redouble our efforts to bring peace and tranquility to Earth. For one priceless moment in the whole history of man all the people on this Earth are truly one—one in their pride in what you have done and one in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth.

Armstrong: Thank you, Mr. President. It is a great honor and privilege for us to be here representing not only the United States, but men of peaceable nations, men with a vision for the future. It is an honor for us to be able to participate here today.

Nixon: Thank you very much, and I look forward, all of us look forward, to seeing you on the Hornet on Thursday.

Armstrong: Thank you. We look forward to that very much, sir.

A YouTube clip of part of the call is here.

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