1484: Apollo Speeches
Title text: While our commitment to recycling initiatives has been unwavering, this is not a cost any of us should be expected to pay.
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As explained in the comic, Nixon staffer William Safire wrote two speeches for the United States President to deliver, depending on whether or not the Apollo 11 return launch was successful. The reason for two different speeches having been written was that the return launch had an outcome that could not be predicted with certainty. Such an uncertain event could be called a contingency, making the speeches "contingency speeches".
The rest of the comic runs with this theme, making the false claim that Safire had written several other such contingency speeches for increasingly unlikely possibilities. First listed are a couple pages from the real contingency speech to be delivered in the event that the astronauts were left stranded on the Moon. Laying on top of that is a speech to be delivered in the case that the spacecraft goes missing altogether, which is relatively unlikely. The speeches after that deal with the following highly unlikely or impossible contingencies:
- The astronauts had stolen the ship and piloted it to Mars, which is clearly impossible: while the crew could have redirected the ship while sending insulting messages to Earth, the spacecraft lacked the power to fly to Mars by several orders of magnitude.
- Upon landing, more astronauts than expected were found in the ship;
- The ship had hit the USS Hornet and crushed Nixon;
- The ship had been sold for scrap and crushed along with the astronauts inside.
The title text builds upon this last contingency speech, delving into the irony of the horror of the spacecraft's recycling and its passengers' resulting deaths despite the U.S.'s commitment to recycling initiatives.
- [Commentary above the Speeches]
- In 1969, Nixon staffer William Safire wrote a speech for the president to deliver if the Apollo 11 return launch failed, stranding the doomed astronauts on the moon.
- Uncovered in 1999, it is often called the greatest speech never given.
- Today, the full set of Safire's contingency speeches has been found.
- In event astronauts stranded on moon
- Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
- [Here, several lines from the original speech are cut]
- In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
- Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts. For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever
- In event spacecraft goes missing
- Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins went to the moon as ambassadors of peace for all mankind, and all mankind prays that they may yet return safely home.
- We are separated from the moon by a vast gulf of space, against which their tiny vessel appeared as but a drifting speck. For a few brief seconds, we took our eye off them, and despite days of desperate searching, never again was their vessel sighted from Earth.
- While these men are lost, they are not forgotten, and their sacrifice will not
- In even astronauts abscond with spacecraft
- We do not know what led Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins to betray the trust we placed in them, abandon their mission, and steer their vessel toward Mars. Nor do we know what compelled them to transmit such hurtful messages back to Earth, heaping contempt on their onetime home.
- But whatever the cause of their dereliction, I call upon the United States to commit itself, before this year is out, to launching a mission to chase down Apollo 11 and return its crew to earth to face justice. We must not rest until
- In event spacecraft returns with extra astronauts
- While there is much we do not understand, tonight all of earth is united in celebrating the safe return of our brave explorers.
- We of course have many questions, and in the days and weeks to come we will demand answers. How many souls were truly aboard Apollo 11 when it launched? Who are the six men now in quarantine aboard the USS Hornet? What happened
- In event spacecraft hits U.S.S. Hornet, crushing Nixon
- President Agnew: Tonight, we have experienced a great national triumph and a great national loss. We take joy in the safe return from the moon of Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins, but that joy is tempered with sorrow as we mourn our president’s tragic death beneath their wayward capsule.
- Richard Nixon wholeheartedly supported our courageous astronauts as they carried the hopes and prayers of Earth to the heavens, and in the moment of their homecoming, he himself has departed on that ultimate voyage. As we grieve, we must rededicate ourselves to the cause for which our president
- In event spacecraft accidentally sold for scrap and crushed with astronauts inside
- My fellow Americans, I am as shocked and appalled as you at this stunning and
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