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July, 1969. The world has just watched two American astronauts take their first steps on another world, the first steps that any human has taken on another world. Now it is time for them to come home, and something has gone wrong. Maybe that circuit board Aldrin snapped can’t be fixed by a felt-tipped pen. Maybe there was a miscalculation in the force needed to leave lunar gravity, and the Eagle is stuck. Maybe something happened with the Columbia, and Collins had to bug out and head back to Earth, leaving the crew of the Eagle stranded on the Moon. What ever the reason, not all of the men who went to the Moon are coming back, and this is the speech that was prepared for Richard Nixon to read if just such an eventuality came to be.

The speech was written by William Safire. He passed away Sunday from pancreatic cancer.

Via BoingBoing/Gawker.