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The world of Apollo 8 was in some ways very different than the world in which we find ourselves today; in others, not so much. In 1968 there was war, same as today. Then there was civil strife, same as today. But the men of Apollo were forged in the crucible of the Depression and World War. They were daring and brilliant. They went about their astronaut business with drive and returned from space to pick up where they left off.
I know there are many here who have far more knowledge of the space program than I do. I have the love of Apollo forged by new color televisions and Major Matt Mason, Mattel’s Man in Space. Yet the tiny fraternity of men who traveled to the moon is getting smaller. Last week, Ken Mattingly died. Yesterday, Frank Borman died.
Frank Borman helped save Apollo by working to solve the issues raised by the tragedy of Apollo 1. He was Commander of the Apollo 8 mission. He followed in the footsteps of aviation pioneer Eddie Rickenbacker at Eastern Airlines. But for me, his greatest achievement was his broadcast from a speeding craft circling the moon. Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders were the first men to see the surface of the moon. Anders took the iconic photos of the earth rising. But when the live television broadcast from the moon was discussed, the only guidance Borman received was from Julian Scheer, a public relations official from NASA: “Do something appropriate.”
There was never a more appropriate broadcast than that Christmas Eve, 1968.
Frank Borman was 95. Godspeed, Commander.Published in