The National Archives Features Special Christmas Eve Message from APOLLO 8
Press Release · Thursday, December 7, 2006

Washington, DC

"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."

    --Frank Borman, commander of the Apollo 8 mission


This Christmas Eve message is featured in "EYEWITNESS— American Originals from the National Archives," a highly-acclaimed, free multimedia exhibition that is on display through January 1, 2007 in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.

While orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve, 1968, the Apollo 8 crew offered live holiday greetings from outer space. After describing the desolation and bleakness of the lunar landscape, the astronauts read from an ancient text they had brought with them: "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth," William Anders began. The three astronauts concluded their historic interplanetary telecast —sent to an audience of half a billion people around the world —by reading the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis, with Commander Frank Borman concluding.

On December 21, 1968, the three-man crew aboard the Apollo 8 spacecraft—Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders—lifted off from Cape Kennedy and began a journey that would take them farther away from Earth than anyone had ever gone. Their mission was a crucial step in the U.S. Government’s program to land a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. They were to travel some 240,000 miles from Earth, enter lunar orbit, scout for appropriate landing sites, and prepare the way for future lunar-landing missions. Related film, images, audio, and documents are available on the National Archives web site for broadband connections or for dial-up and smaller screens.

"Eyewitness" is free and open to the public through January 1, 2007. The National Archives Building is located on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving Day and December 25. "Eyewitness" begins a nationwide tour in 2007, opening at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 2, 2007. The full traveling itinerary is available via the Eyewitness web page.

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For press information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.


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