Here's the speech Nixon would've said if the Apollo 11 moon landing failed


While we want to be optimistic when facing a dangerous situation, we have to prepare for the worst. In 1969, that's exactly what speechwriter William Safire imagined when waiting for the Apollo 11 to land on the moon.

Safire penned a memo for President Nixon's Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, in the event that the landing failed. Thankfully, the memo was never needed -- but it remains available for us to read.

The letter was shared on Reddit on Wednesday and received thousands of upvotes.

Credit: National Archives

The memo contains a speech for Nixon to read to the public should a "moon disaster" occur, such as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin becoming stranded, thus not being able to return to Earth. Then, there is a plan for what would happen before and after the statement.

Prior, Nixon would call Armstrong and Aldrin's wives. After, NASA would end communications with the astronaut and a clergyman would come to give their last rites.

Here is a transcript of the memo provided by Letters of Note. In a series called Letters Live, where actors read famous letters aloud, Benedict Cumberbatch read "In Event of Moon Disaster":

See photos from Apollo 11