Richard Nixon photo

Statement About Honoring American and Russian Space Heroes During the Apollo 11 Mission

July 17, 1969

THE TWO MEN we hope will set foot on the moon represent all mankind.

Their achievement will be the world's achievement. It is fitting, therefore, that the first lunar explorers carry with them some recognition of the sacrifice made by other space pioneers who helped to blaze their trail.

There is no national boundary to courage. The names of Gagarin and Komarov, of Grissom, White, and Chaffee, share the honor we pray will come to Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins.

In recognizing the dedication and sacrifice of brave men of different nations, we underscore an example we hope to set: that if men can reach the moon, men can reach agreement.

Note: The Apollo 11 crew carried with them two Soviet commemorative medals, one Apollo 204 crew patch, and three Apollo 204 commemorative medals.

The Soviet medals, which were awarded posthumously, were brought back to the United States by Col. Frank Borman, Commander of Apollo 8, who received them in Moscow from the widows of Russian cosmonauts Col. Yuri Gagarin and Col. Vladimir Komarov. Colonel Gagarin was killed on March 27, 1968, when his jet plane crashed northeast of Moscow during a routine training flight. Colonel Komarov was killed while completing a 2-day orbital flight when his Soyuz I spacecraft became tangled in its parachute cords after reentering the earth's atmosphere.

Richard Nixon, Statement About Honoring American and Russian Space Heroes During the Apollo 11 Mission Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/239624

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