By the President of the United States Of America
Apollo 11 is on its way to the moon. It carries three brave astronauts; it also carries the hopes and prayers of hundreds of millions of people here on earth, for whom that first footfall on the moon will be a moment of transcendent drama. Never before has man embarked on so epic an adventure.
In the words of the plaque the Apollo astronauts expect to leave on the moon, they go "in peace for all mankind." The adventure is not theirs alone, but everyone's; the history they are making is not only scientific history, but human history. That moment when man first sets foot on a body other than earth will stand through the centuries as one supreme in human experience, and profound in its meaning for generations to come.
In past ages, exploration was a lonely enterprise. But today, the miracles of space travel are matched by miracles of space communication; even across the vast lunar distance, television brings the moment of discovery into our homes, and makes all of us participants.
As the astronauts go where man has never gone, as they attempt what man has never teed, we on earth will want, as one people, to be with them in spirit; to share the glory and the wonder, and to support them with prayers that all will go well.
In order that as many as possible can have the opportunity to share as fully as possible in this surpassing occasion, I, RICHARD NIXON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Monday, July 21, 1969, to be a National Day of Participation; and I invite the Governors of the States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and officials of other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to issue similar proclamations.
All executive departments, independent establishments, and other governmental agencies, including their field services, shall be closed on the National Day of Participation, and all of their employees (except employees of the Department of State, the Department of Defense, or other agencies who in the judgment of their agency heads should be at their posts of duty for national security or other public reasons), shall be excused from duty on that day. And I direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on that day.
I urge the Governors of the States, the mayors of cities, the heads of school systems, and other public officials to take similar action. I also urge private employers to make appropriate arrangements so that as many of our citizens as possible will be able to share in the significant events of that day. And, finally, I call upon all of our people, on that historic day, to join in prayer for the successful conclusion of Apollo 11 's mission and the safe return of its crew.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-fourth.