By Bill Federer, staff writer
Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy JULY 16, 1969, being the first mission to walk on the moon. In Proclamation 3919, President Richard Nixon stated: “Apollo 11 is on its way to the moon. It carries three brave astronauts; it also carries the hopes and prayers of hundreds of millions of people…That moment when man first sets foot on a body other than earth will stand through the centuries as one supreme in human experience…I call upon all of our people…to join in prayer for the successful conclusion of Apollo 11′s mission.” President Richard Nixon spoke to the astronauts on the moon, July 20, 1969: “This certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made from the White House…The heavens have become a part of man’s world…For one priceless moment in the whole history of man all the people on this earth are truly one…one in our prayers that you will return safely to earth.” President Nixon greeted the astronauts on the U.S.S. Hornet, July 24, 1969: “The millions who are seeing us on television now…feel as I do, that…our prayers have been answered…I think it would be very appropriate if Chaplain Piirto, the Chaplain of this ship, were to offer a prayer of thanksgiving.” Forty years later, NASA’s Constellation program, which was building new rockets and spaceships capable of returning astronauts to the moon, was cancelled. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden outlined the new priorities for NASA in an interview with the Middle East News agency, Al Jazeera, in Cairo, June 30, 2010: “When I became the NASA administrator…President Obama charged me…perhaps foremost…to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good.”
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