Long ago, when I was a lad. Three men went to the moon. They were the first to go, but because they didn't land no one remembers their names. Never mind that doesn't matter. What does matter though is what they did when they arrived.
These were the first human souls to reach, and orbit the moon. It was Christmas eve 1968. A most eventful year. Indeed one of the most dramatic years of recent centuries as those who were there will vividly remember.
It was fitting that it closed with so moving an event as Apollo 8 reaching la Luna.
Through this voyage we for the first time saw our Earth, our home whole in the sea of forever. So small, so beautiful, so fragile.
The world watched, and listened that night. That Christmas eve, that Holy night of our combined Hopes.
As the Apollo caravel rounded the moon astronauts Anders, Lovell, and Borman read from the first page of Genesis.
"For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you".
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness."
"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."
"And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good."
Borman then added, "And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you - all of you on the good Earth."