Richard Nixon photo

Statement on the Anniversary of the First Manned Lunar Landing.

July 20, 1970

TODAY marks a very special first anniversary celebration--a celebration in which all mankind shares as part of the family of man to which we all belong. The occasion we celebrate is the Apollo 11 lunar landing on July 20, 1969, when for the first time men reached the surface of the moon.

On that day, while Michael Collins piloted the Apollo 11 command ship Columbia in lunar orbit, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, in the lunar landing craft Eagle, made their descent to the surface of the moon, setting down in the Sea of Tranquility at 4:19 p.m., e.d.t., precisely as scheduled. And at 10:56 p.m., e.d.t., from a distance of a quarter of a million miles, we on earth watched as man set foot on the moon.

This triumph of unique achievement, described by our first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, as "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind," brought with it a moment of greatness in which we all shared, a priceless moment when the people of this earth became truly one in the joy and wonder of a dream realized.

The Spirit of Apollo was a spirit of brotherhood and a spirit of the fellowship of human achievement. It is in that spirit that we celebrate this anniversary.

Richard Nixon, Statement on the Anniversary of the First Manned Lunar Landing. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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