The year 1968 brought a lot of turmoil to the United States of America. For one, North Korea captured the USS Pueblo. For another, the Tet Offensive began in South Vietnam, escalating an unpopular overseas war outside the borders of the United States and ultimately would bring about the end of support for the war back home.
Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. In Mexico City later that year, two black athletes staged a silent demonstration against racial discrimination in the United States during the Summer Olympics. The International Olympic Committee condemned American medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos for making the statement in solidarity with oppressed brethren suffering cultural indignities, again back home.
48-years ago today, the Apollo 8 mission by NASA and the United States with astronauts James (Jim) Lovell, William (Bill) Anders, and Frank Borman became the first human beings to travel to the moon. In circling the moon 10-times on Christmas Eve 1968, Lunar Module Pilot Anders took the above image “Earthrise” during one of those passes.
After clearing the far side of the moon for the first time, a relieved Lovell announced to mission control in Houston, as well as the world, “Houston, please be informed there is a Santa Clause.”
The Apollo 8 mission launched December 21, 1968 from Kennedy Space Center on December 21st that year and splashed down just short of 6-days and 4-hours later. The astronauts were flooded with telegrams noting the daring and achievement of their risks and accomplishments.
With the backdrop of the events of 1968 set against the circumnavigation of the moon with a safe return to earth for these men, one telegram stood out from the rest. The telegram said, “You saved 1968.”
Matt – Saturday, December 24, 2016