May 19, 2024
Readers will recall that for this year’s Thanksgiving message, we turned the page back to 1968 for the proclamation issued that year by President Lyndon Johnson. Even in a time plagued by war, unrest, and division, Johnson reminded the nation to not overlook all that was good. Inspired by the recent success of the Artemis 1 mission to lunar orbit, we will continue the theme of 1968 for our annual holiday message. That year ended with the historic Apollo 8 mission, the first manned mission to orbit the Moon. During their return to Earth, astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, Jr., and William Anders broadcast a televised greeting from space that was the most watched television program to that time. As the first humans to ever leave low Earth orbit and thus to be able to look back at our world in its entirety, they had a truly unprecedented vantage from which to bring good tidings to all. Though the words come from a specific religious text and tradition which these men shared, when placed in the context of that epic journey and the unsettled time at home, the underlying message seems to transcend any specific set of beliefs and speak to a perhaps common sense of awe and wonder when faced with the vastness of space and the universe. In that spirit, we share the Apollo 8 message in its written form and as a podcast with the original recording available on the podcatcher of your choice. And so to close the year, we here at War Room wish that you and yours may find a brief distraction from your troubles and a sense of hope and wonder like those of the Apollo 8 astronauts for what is still to come. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! We’ll see you in 2023.

We are now approaching lunar sunrise. And, for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 have a message that we would like to send to you.

Readers will recall that for this year’s Thanksgiving message, we turned the page back to 1968 for the proclamation issued that year by President Lyndon Johnson. Even in a time plagued by war, unrest, and division, Johnson reminded the nation to not overlook all that was good.

Inspired by the recent success of the Artemis 1 mission to lunar orbit, we will continue the theme of 1968 for our annual holiday message. That year ended with the historic Apollo 8 mission, the first manned mission to orbit the Moon. During their return to Earth, astronauts Frank BormanJames Lovell, Jr., and William Anders broadcast a televised greeting from space that was the most watched television program to that time.

As the first humans to ever leave low Earth orbit and thus to be able to look back at our world in its entirety, they had a truly unprecedented vantage from which to bring good tidings to all. Though the words come from a specific religious text and tradition which these men shared, when placed in the context of that epic journey and the unsettled time at home, the underlying message seems to transcend any specific set of beliefs and speak to a perhaps common sense of awe and wonder when faced with the vastness of space and the universe. In that spirit, we share the Apollo 8 message here and as a podcast with the original recording available on the podcatcher of your choice:

William A. Anders:

We are now approaching lunar sunrise. And, for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 have a message that we would like to send to 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.”

James A. Lovell, Jr.:

“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.”

Frank Borman:

“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven 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 he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.”

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.

And so to close the year, we here at War Room wish that you and yours may find a brief distraction from your troubles and a sense of hope and wonder like those of the Apollo 8 astronauts for what is still to come.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! We’ll see you in 2023.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Army, or the Department of Defense.

Photo Description: Earthrise taken aboard Apollo 8 by Bill Anders, this iconic picture shows Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface as the first crewed spacecraft circumnavigated the Moon. INSET: Apollo 8 crew is photographed posing on a Kennedy Space Center (KSC) simulator in their space suits. From left to right are: James A. Lovell Jr., William A. Anders, and Frank Borman.

Photo Credit and Original Audio: NASA

2019 Holiday Message

2020 Holiday Message

2021 Holiday Message

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