Questions for Reflection

1) For decades, Neil Armstrong was reported to have said these words as he became the first person to walk on the moon: “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” However, it was later discovered that Armstrong had in fact said, "That's one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind." What are the implications of the difference between how most of the world heard the quote and what Armstrong intended?   

2) Do you think Presidential administrations should have speeches prepared for various disaster scenarios that may occur? If so, what criteria should determine which scenarios should be planned for?   

3) How do you feel about the choice of President Nixon's speechwriter to borrow the protocol for a burial at sea for use in the event of stranded astronauts? Do you think this is the appropriate course of action? Why or why not?

4) The moon landing was a major achievement for Americans. At the same time, the event was a major achievement for humankind and was watched on television by millions of people worldwide. Do you think the moon landing was primarily an American achievement or an achievement for humankind?  When do you think patriotic actions are good for humanity as a whole, and when do you think they merely advance the cause of a particular nation? 

5) Space Theme Question: How did the Apollo missions advanced the boundaries of what was previously thought to be impossible? 

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History By Mail - Apollo 11 Astronaut Edwin Aldrin posed on moon next to an American flag on July 20, 1969.
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 Astronaut Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin posed on moon next to an American flag. Adrin and Neil Armstrong, the mission commander, collected rock samples, conducted experiments, and took photographs.
History By Mail - Minute-by-minute flight plan for Apollo 11.
Minute-by-minute flight plan for Apollo 11 
History By Mail - Photograph of Earth taken by Apollo 17 astronauts (December 1972)
Photograph of Earth taken by Apollo 17 astronauts (December 1972)
The same weekend as the moon landing, the Ted Kennedy's tragic car accident at Chappaquiddick island in Massachusetts occurred. Senator Ted Kennedy's negligence led to the death of passenger Mary Jo Kopechne who was trapped inside the car after the crash. 
As speechwriter William Safire later put it referring to the juxtaposition of the moon landing and car crash on the same weekend: “the dark counterpoint at Chappaquiddick, which ended the dynastic potential of the brother of the President who launched the Apollo journey.”