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tv   Public Affairs Events  CSPAN  December 24, 2018 10:26am-11:13am EST

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every weekend, american history tv brings you 48 hours of unique programming exploring our nation's past. to view our schedule and an archive of all our programs, visit cspan.org/history. man's quest for knowledge certainly was a major impetus in the voyage to the moon, which american space scientists and engineers planned for december. a few days before the apollo 8 countdown at the first white house dinner honoring america's entire space team, president johnson praised the leadership
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of nasa's outgoing director, james webb. on hand was charles lindbergh, famed for his solo flight 41 years ago, and the astronauts of apollo 7 and apollo 8, who in 1968 earned their place in history. en route to the dinner, they autographed a document which will hang in the treaty room alongside mementos of earlier spacemen who visited the mansion. >> an hour for the countdown for apollo 8 begins, i want to say this to the men of this crew, we pray for you, we think of you, we wish you god speed, we wish you a safe return. and the only person in the world
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that's going to be more concerned about you than i am is the girls who wait for your return. >> t-minus 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8 -- we have ignition see sequence start. the engines are on. 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. we have liftoff. liftoff at 7:51 a.m. eastern standard time. we have cleared the tower. >> 65 years to the month after orville and wilbur wright propelled the first american airplane over the ocean dunes at kitty hawk, powerful rockets launched apollo 8's crew on man's first trip to the moon. it was described as an
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absolutely perfect liftoff at 7:51 a.m. from cape kennedy. and soon the rocket was traveling 24,000 miles per hour. >> i have a beautiful view of the s 4 b and the earth here. i'll try to get a picture for you. >> apollo 8, you are a go for tli, over. >> roger. we go for tli. >> 68 hours and 58 minutes into the mission, the astronauts passed around the dark side of the moon. ten minutes later, they fired
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the thrust engine into a successful lunar orbit. by now the spacemen were radioing back their close-up sightings of the moon only 70 miles away. >> the moon is a different thing to each one of us. i know my own impression is that it's a vast, lonely, forbidding type existence or experience of nothing. it looks like clouds and clouds of pumice stone and it would certainly not appear to be a very inviting place to live or work. >> during their ten orbits of the moon, they photographed the sea of tranquility and other landing sites for use for other
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apollo explorers. with lunar shadows length thing before them and the void of the universe looming beyond, america's astronauts read from the book of genesis the story of creation. >> 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. and 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 was the first day. and god said let there be movement in the midst of the waters and let it divide the waters from the waters.
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and god made it and divided the waters and it was so. and god called it heaven and the evening and the morning was the second day. >> and god said let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into 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 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 now the most critical moment of the journey had arrived, when the team would attempt to restart their engines
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and rocket back to earth. >> houston, apollo 8, over. >> hello, apollo 8, loud and clear. >> roger. please inform there is a santa claus. >> you are the best ones to know. >> the triumphant shouts from mission control in houston on christmas day could only mean one thing, the engines were started again and apollo 8 was on its way home. a flawless, supremely successful flight, with splashdown coming in the predawn hours of friday morning, december 27th, not far from the uss yorktown, 1,000 miles southwest of honolulu. a courageous event, said the russians. the vatican called it daring, incredible. britain's astronomers bernard level, who questioned its scientific value, now called it one of the historic moments in the development of a human race.
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from paris, the supreme compliment. magnifique. and from washington, president johnson immediately conveyed to the astronauts the exultant feelings of americans. >> we want to welcome you home. we thank god that you are back safe again. you've made us very proud to be alive at this particular moment in history. you made us feel akin to those europeans nearly five centuries ago who heard stories of the new world for the first time. there's just no other comparison that we can make that's equal to what you've done or to what we feel.
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>> christmas day on c-span at 11:45 a.m. eastern, a look back on this year's memorial services for first lady barbara bush, senator john mccain, and president george h.w. bush. then at 3:30 p.m. eastern, admiral william mcraven on the future of the u.s. military. at 8:00 former president barack obama, former secretary of state james baker, and historian john meacham on the u.s.' role in the world. >> if there's a problem around the world, people do not call moscow, they do not call beijing, they call washington. even our adversaries expect us to solve problems and expect us to keep things running. >> and at 9:00, a conversation with entrepreneurs on women in corporate america. >> and we know that women's networks tend to look very female heavy. men's networks tend to look very male heavy. that might be fine when you're
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in your first position right out of school. who do you think wins by the network by the time you get to senior leadership? >> watch tuesday, christmas day, on c-span. >> each week american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places to learn about american history. here's a brief look at one of our recent trips. >> so let's start with first lady michelle obama. you've probably already heard a lot about this picture. it's caused quite a lot of discussion across the internet and we've had many visitors come to visit michelle. this is a portrait by the baltimore artist amy sharold who had won our portrait competition that happens every three years. here you'll see a fantastic picture of michelle obama sitting actually outside. the sitting was done in the
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fresh air. but you see it's a blue background wearing this wonderful dress. the dress was very appealing to the artist because it related to modern art. it actually looks like a constructivist painting, but also it has a quilt-like effect that made amy sharold and michelle obama think about the quilts that had been made by the ancestors of enslaved women. the most interesting aspect of this portrait is in fact the gray skin tone that the artist used to depict an african-american woman. she said that she was actually channeling the history of african-american portraiture. when you were enslaved, you were unlikely to get a portrait of yourself made. it was very expensive. so the change happens with photography. suddenly black and white photographs with the kodak is available and families, black
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families, can actually have portraits taken of their friends and their beloved that of course reads initially as black. amy sharold carries around with her a beautiful picture of her grandmother that is a black and white portrait, and she said i think i was unconsciously tapping into that image of this beautiful, self-assured and very intelligent woman. she also made a point of saying i'd like to move past questions of racial identity. we are a large country that of course has people of very different identities and appearances and she said that this is a portrait of a strong woman who's made a difference. and i wanted her to have a universal quality. now, some people might have actually seen the wonderful moment around march of 2018 with the little 3-year-old, parker
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curry, caught gazing at mrs. obama. later on when she was asked what did you see, parker, she said, i thought she was a queen. >> travel with us to historic sites, museums and archives each sunday at 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. eastern on our weekly series, american artifacts. this is american history tv, all weekend on c-span 3. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c., and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider.
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in december of 1968, nasa launched men into the moon's orbit for the first time. on december 24th, the three astronauts aboard delivered a live telecast showing images of the earth as seen from space and reading from the book of genesis. next on history bookshelf, jeffy kluger talks about his book, "apollo 8," the thrilling story of the first mission to the moon where he chronicles the mission in its entirety. this is about 40 minutes.
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good afternoon, everyone, i'm jennifer, a curator here and i want to welcome all of you to what's new in aerospace and send a quick thank you to our sponsors, boeing. today we have a really great talk. i'm hoping all of you are as excited as i am. as somebody who watches a lot of things on television about space, jeffrey kluger is a familiar face to me tecertainly. he is a local. he grew up in baltimore and went to the university of maryland. he's also the author of multiple books on topics from everything from narcissism to polio to siblings, but notably for today, at least in the context of this museum, he's the author of two books that we'll bring up. first, "lost moon" which he published in 1994 which is the story of apollo 13, the inspiration for that movie. today he'll be talking about his new book and signing the book
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afterwards just outside the gallery if you're so interested. the book is "apollo 8, the thrilling story of the first mission to the moon." please join me in welcoming jeffrey kluger. >> thank you. >> so i mentioned the book "lost moon," you wrote it in 1994. you do write about space in "time" magazine quite a bit. but what brought you back to that story line, that exciting moment at this point in time. >> apollo 13 or apollo 8? >> apollo 8, i'm sorry. >> a lot of it came from someone in the audience today, jill sandopolo. she and i were having lunch one day speaking about great yarns. great yarns that could work for kids and adults. the story of apollo 8 came up. my feeling had always been and has always been that when the great tale of american history, american space history is
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written, it will be apollos 8, 11 and 13 that are the true benchmark missions. we all know 11, the first footprints on the moon, but apollo 8 was the first time human beings left the gravity field of earth. we have lived for our entire existence as a species at the bottom of a gravity well of earth. we managed to haul ourselves out of the dirt, get aircraft in through the atmosphere, spacecraft around the earth, but orbiting the earth is sort of dog paddling in the local harbor. for apollo 8 it was the first time we sailed across the true deep waters of deep space, went to another world. and for the 24 hours those guys were there, they were creatures of another world. they were no longer earthlings, they were moon men for 24 hours. it was the mission that made all of the landings possible. >> so that sort of gets at what
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i wanted to ask about which is what makes apollo 8 special. obviously for those alive at the time, apollo 11 was quite special because of the first steps on the moon, but apollo 8 was a really dramatic shift in the plan. so talk a little bit about what made it so special at that particular moment in time in 1968. >> well, there were a lot of things that happened. 1968, as we know, was easily the most blood-soaked year in modern human history. there was the bobby kennedy assassination, martin luther king assassination, riots in the u.s., riots at the democratic convention, the tet offensive in vietnam, the soviet invasion of prague, more riots in mexico city, paris. the world was bleeding from a thousand self-inflicted wounds. and then in the summer of 1968, a handful of people at nasa realized there was a way to right the ship of the space program and as a dividend sort
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of redeem the year and redeem the country. remember, this was one year after the apollo 1 fire. nasa had lost three astronauts on a launch pad fire. the dream of getting to the moon by 1970 seemed completely beyond reach now. the spacecraft had to be built from the bottom up. the saturn 5 rocket wasn't working. the lunar module was hopeless, nowhere ready to make a landing. here we were in the summer of '68, 16 months before president kennedy's guideline. and the guys at nasa, and they were all men at the time, not including the women from request"hidden figures" who did extraordinary work, but they said we can fix this command module and we can fix this saturn 5. if we do this work and do it fast and get our guys trained and catch a couple of breaks, we can be in lunar orbit in 16
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weeks and kick start this program and they did it. >> you mentioned some of the people. the people who actually made this happen. it's not just about the technology, it's about the people who put all this effort into it. are they what draw you as a journalist to these stories? these are really dramatic events. talk a little about the people and obviously you have three main characters in your book. tell us a little about those particular people. >> well, these three guys up here, they are left to right bill anders, jim lovelle and frank borman. i never lose sight of the fact of how privileged i am to call jim a friend. i've known him, i've known the level family for 25 years now, but all three of these guys in some ways represented something special and something particular about why human beings travel in space and that's frank borman. why we travel in space and why we do these ambitious things.
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they all went into it with different motivations. level simply loves nothing more than being in space. he's never as happy as being in space and he was never as happy in space than when he was doing something totally crazy like being in the crew on the first flight to the moon. bill anders adores machines. he adores the counterintuitive way a machine like the lunar module worked. he made himself an expert of every little rivet and wire and bolt on a lunar module. in this mission he didn't get to fly with them so he learned the systems of the command module. to him it was taking a machine and making it do something amazing. frank borman is and was a patriot. frank borman trained to be a fighter pilot. he went to west point, he joined the air force, he wanted to fight in korea. his country needed him and he was ready to fight. he was grounded for about a year due to a burst eardrum, his window of opportunity passed to
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fight in korea. when this opportunity to be an astronaut and to fly this improbable mission was presented to him, he knew that this was his chance to fight a very important battle in the cold war, to go out, to win and to come home. for him it was a mission. all three guys knew about the epical nature of the mission. they knew this was a mission they were flying not just for nasa, not just for america, but for the species at large. they were going to make us homosapiens a two-world species and they were aware of that sglnd that was brought out very nicely in their mission patch designed by jim level. that really encompassing drawing things together, drawing the earth and the moon together by actually having people going there. level and borman had an interesting connection in the fact they had already flown together so this is a unique
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crew in many respects but in part because they had flown together before. >> if you go out into the entry gallery, look at the gemini 4 spacecraft. that was the exact same model of spacecraft that they flew in the first time they flew. it is basically two coach seats and you're in inflatable suits so your shoulders are touching. and the overhead is 3 inches above your head when the hatches were closed. jim and frank lived in that spacecraft without ever getting to open the doors for two solid weeks in lower earth orbit. borman described it very glamorously as a fortnight in a men's room. that's how he described it. they joked when they came home, they said, maybe we'll get married. >> they had spent so much time together. >> spent so much time together. but if you -- it was a mission nobody wanted. it was this gritty lynunch buck mission. they did it, they performed brilliantly and that cohesion is
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what made apollo 8 work so well. they brought in bill anders, who was a whip smart, energetic hot shot in all the right ways, and he just rounded out that group. >> as you didn't get to command -- to drive the lunar module like he hoped but he played a substantial role kind of where apollo 8 story has come today which is through his photography. he immersed himself in studying the lunar surface. we even have a photo, one of the most famous photos taken in human history which is earth rise and he's talked about it extensively. and these kinds of things, these stories are covered through lots of academic history, through biography of these astronauts and you could see earth rise here. so what is your take on this flight that is really new to add another voice to that story? what did you learn that you can
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convey in a book that is new for readers? >> well, first of all, before i answer that, i want to say this is not by accident that this picture is sideways. bill anders insists on rotating it 90 degrees because remember they were flying around the flank of the moon. so the earth actually rises in a lateral way. now the space -- the lunar surface was below them so they saw it right-side up. but this is the way it looks in space. what made this i new experience for me, look, i knew it would be thrilling to write everything that happened when they got into the spacecraft and my editor john sterling who happened to be my first editor when i wrote apollo 13, he said i want those guys in spacecraft by 40% through the way of your book. if you haven't gotten to there, cut 10%. it is a smart man and knows how to pace a book. i worked hard to make that happen. but what struck me also was that
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16-week window that they had to get this mission out of the planning stage and on to the launch pad. and it was that monomaniacal focus they shows at nasa particularly in houston to get the systems ready, to sell the necessary nasa brass on the idea of doing this. it was -- my original very long sub title for this book was going to be the ingenious and out righteous and inspired and insane nation saving -- and they enjoyed that because it will never see print. but it did capture the nature of the mission. it was ingenious and inspiring and outrageous and it was insane. and yet every single person who was brought into the moon -- into the room for these quiet conversations, every higher and
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higher level of nasa brass told we think we have a way to get to the moon in 16 weeks, they all said you're out of your mind. it can't be done. and then they listened. and then they said, well, i think it can be done. think we do have the hardware. we just have to fix it. i think we do have the man power and woman power and human power to sprint to this mission. we certainly have the astronaut personnel. borman and anders were great for the mission but as chris craft the director of flight operations once told me, i asked him what is the best pure pilot and the best crew you ever flew and he said people always ask me that and i always say you think i'm making it up, my answer is whatever crew i'm flighting right now because every crew benefits from what the previous crew did. so even if for some one borman and level and anders and schweikert couldn't do it or
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armstrong and aldrin and collins, they had a trio of extraordinarily gifted men and they just had to pick the one right for the mission. >> and we saw the launch of apollo 8 and what is audacious is they put people on top of a saturn five and this is the very first time that had been done and it didn't just go to orbit, it went all the way to the moon. and there had been previous satern 5 launches that went all right but not exactly perfect. >> the first one was perfect, the second one almost shook itself across to get out and when they went out to give out the post conference flight and nasa expected him to be politic about it and he had a two-sentence statement. this was a disaster. write that down. disaster. there is no way to fix that. and walked out of the room. and then eight months later, they si-- they said we're go fo put three guys on top. because they had faith in their
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ability to sort out what the problem was and they did sort it out. >> so we're talking about technology and the museum is home to a lot of the technology of the apollo era. apollo 8 itself is housed at the museum of science and industry in chicago and we have a picture of its arrival there which i think everybody will find kind of interesting. but when you see these objects, how does that connect as far as your research and then what actually happened. you talked to the people and now you're seeing the technology. talk a little bit about sort of what your reactions are to coming to a place where we have all of that stuff. >> well, that is the thing, i was never quite so happy about my schedule this morning as when jennifer told me, by the way, you have an hour to kill. get the security team and drag me away from the display of the lamb or whatever else it is. i believe the machines in these museums are powerfully evaukive
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and you don't realize the scale until you stand next to them. in the case of lunar module, that machine i've always said is so ugly it's beautiful. it is the perfect machine. i can look at pictures of that all day and so stand in the vicinity of it and see this is the scale, this is the tactile nature of it, even though we don't get to touch it. this is what it would have looked like to be a person engaged with that machine. the apollo soyes in the gallery are another example. you have the sleek apollo spacecraft and the much more irregular looking so ies and two different machines on two different empires on two different sides of the world, empires that were at dagger points, nuclear dagger points and between them and connecting them there is this big lumpy
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chunk of seven ton of black hardware that served as the docking power. it had a port for the american ship, it had a port for the russian ship. it was the greatest engineering metaphor for geo global politics to bring two spacecraft together and in so doing bring two nations together to see the hardware is to make it tactile, is to make it real. it is the reason i never tire of looking at these great space toys. >> we're happy to have you come any time to take a visit. a modern -- manifestation is hanging behind you which is the international space station. it is the size of a football field and many nation came together to build this thing. and "time" magazine said one of the more exciting moments of the last few years in going to the space station which is the year in spags mission of scott kelly
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and mikael cornenco and think about the apollo and the international space station and the partnerships, how do you see what you've been doing lately with "time" magazine in this political climate of technology sharing or not sharing and the general public support for space flight. can we expect to see this continue? can we think that something like a partnership from the international space station will go forward and take us to the next place? >> this is one of those questions that i actually feel like i can answer optimistically. i think the collaboration will continue and i think it should continue. now part of it is simply because we are invested in it. 17 nations who are -- who have collaborated to build this, if you took 17 families and they all built an apartment building and lived together, you're kind of stuff with each other so you
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better make this work. you put a lot of effort into it. i also think that will serve as a template for future international collaboration. getting spacecraft to mars, getting human beings to mars will be an order of magnitude more difficult than it was to get human beings to the moon just because of the distance is so much greater. but if you can bring 17 countries together to do it, you cut costs, you cut time, you build collaboration and you bring special expertise from different groups of people. and also i was touched by how readily and how poignantly the u.s./russian collaboration in space transcends petty politics. when we were over in bicenor, the time crew and watched the launch of the soyes in kazakhstan and i could have died
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happy. >> launches are pretty spectacular. >> as i said to jennifer earlier, there was such a granular level of collaboration there. there were three astronauts -- or one two and two cosmonauts and a american flag on the shoulder and a russian flag on the shoulder of the other, all the way down to the little details when they gave press conferences and miniature american and russian flag and when they got to kazakhstan for the re-entry, a miniature kazakh flag. everything is a symbol. the semi oughtics are collaboration. scott kelly has a twin brother mark kelly and nothing is more defining than his relati relati but he called cornenco my brother from another mother because of the time they spent together. >> and folks may have seen a
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photo that popped up which is the moon sort of as seen by the apollo 8 crew. see something like that and earth from that perspective is really something obviously that was brand-new at this time. this was huge. they broadcast this from -- they broadcast from the moon on christmas eve. this is a pivotal moment. this is when people are able to not only see the earth through photographs later, but see it live on their television from 250,000 miles away. is that really something that is -- is helpful for us to think about today as far as how space and the media and the space community and the media kind of interact. there is this partnership between the two. nasa's job can't be done without public support, the media brings that story to the public. talk about your role as a sort
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of a writer in sort of the space community and sort of the excitement maybe that you're helping in part of that story. >> that is something that i like to think about. look, i would love to be an astronaut. i wanted to be an astronaut when i was a little boy. i still want to be an astronaut. i always realize even as a little boy, i am so ill-equipped to be an astronaut. it is just not something that i have the brass to do. but to be in the vicinity of that, to orbit around that as it were, to be in mission control, to be sitting here, marilyn level once said to me, when we were on the set of the apollo 13 movie, and again this is when i had already -- starting to feel close to marilyn and to the family at large, she said something to me that that i took exactly the way she meant it.
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i come to believe that jim was born to fly the mission of apollo 13 and you were born to tell that story. and i know she wasn't dispirraging my other things i've but that is okay with me. to think i was a little boy in pikesville maryland and my favorite astronaut was jim level and the randomness of human beings are like sub atomic particles, we move around randomly and two collide and if that involved my running into jim and being able to make people understand why this story was important and with apollo 8 being able to make people understand that, that is a good day's work and i feel both humbled and privileged to be able to do it. >> just want to remind the audience here, if you have a question, feel free to sit in the back row where we have some posted signs for where you could stand. before i get into -- and just want to mention before my last couple of questions, so the crew obviously successfully returned.
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what happened next? what did they all -- they parted ways of course and went off to do other things. in the immediate aftermath, though, sort of what -- where did their lives take them as far as a crew? >> their lives went to very different places. frank borman was done when he landed. it wasn't like he didn't have a good time. he did. it wasn't like he didn't realize the epical nature of the mission. he did. but he also knew it was my cold war mission. i'm home from the mission. at the end of the book we have him sort of on the deck of the carrier and he gives his apollo spacecraft an affectionate pat and walked off and doesn't look back. he was a man with a patriotic job to do and he did it. bill anders would have loved to go back into space but you knee that the byzantine nasa flight rules would meant if he did get assigned to another mission, the odds were very good he would have been in the center seat of the apollo which would have
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meant he would have gone out to the moon again and still not gotten to land, that two other people would have landed. so he was offered a position in government as a consultants or an adviser to then president nixon and he then went into private industry and he was very happy doing that. jim lovell, he was half way to the moon and said baby i'm coming back. he just knew what he wanted to do. you knew he traveled a quarter of a million mile to get to the moon and got to within five dozen miles of the surface and he was determined to close that last five dozen miles. as history proved as i say in the book, jim lovell who flew in apollo 8 and learned what happened when a spacecraft does everything right would later learn what happens when a spacecraft does everything wrong. >> so sort of on a more personal note from me, i was born after apollo. we have a lot of visitors in our audience who don't remember apollo 8 or apollo 11 or 17 the
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last mission to go to the moon. i grew up watching the space shuttle, of course the international space station still flying and my children won't remember space shuttles flying other than seeing discovery from our building not too far from here. what does apollo eight in thinking about the experiences of those particular astronauts, how does that maybe -- how is that instructive or helpful for thinking about maybe a career in space flight or inspiring new generations to think about where they can go. >> well, there are a couple of things about that. i will just briefly include an anecdote when summer of 2012 we went out, my family went out to visit the lovells to stay at their home for the weekend. my daughters were then 11 and 9. and jim was taking us to the museum of science and industry to see the apollo 8 spacecraft and obje-- and on the way over
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pulled my girls aside and said you may be too young to appreciate this now, but this is columbus showing you the santa maria. keep that in mind for later. and they did seem to keep that in mind until they got back to the lovell's house and they saw the big shaggy dog toby and then everything was all about toby again. but for a minute they had that appreciation. the other thing and you and i spoke about this earlier is if you look at the three qualities, i was talking about with the three astronauts, anders, a man of engineering, lovell a man of exploration, borman a man of patriotic duty. well those are three pretty darn good qualities too -- to take into career if you are a 16, 17, 20-year-old student looking at your future. so you could do worse than follow the example of these three guys and plan your own future. >> i think we have a question from the audience. >> good afternoon.
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i was a college student home for christmas during the apollo 8 mission and i would love to hear your experience of that christmas eve broadcast. i know i was -- i wept. it was so beautiful. but how did you experience it and even more importantly, how did the crew experience it? >> well, i could lie and say, gee, i was way too young to remember it but that would be a complete untruth. i was plenty old enough to remember it. i was a very young adolescent and as a young adolescent male, i had already learned one of the rules which is show no emotion, you're tough. you certainly don't cry over things. could not abide by that rule. even as a kid i felt that excitement. i felt tears coming into my eyes because i knew that this was something wholly different and when they read on christmas eve, when they read the verses of
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genesis and didn't grow newspaper a terribly religious observant family, i knew what genesis was, you could have been a person of faith, you could have been an atheist, it didn't matter. the verse of genesis is beautiful. it is beautiful. and the verse was speaking of birth or in the case of apollo -- of 1968, rebirth. it was speaking about a way to save, to redeem this year. that was not lost on me. i was devastated watching bobby kennedy's death, martin luther king's death. i lived in baltimore. baltimore burned in the riots that followed the deaths. i knew how dreadful, how mortal that year had been. i think it was the ability to redeem the year. and i believe that the astronauts themselves appreciated that but not until they came back. of all of the telegrams, all of the letters, all of the awards they got from leaders around the
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world, all three of them say that what impressed them and touched them most was a simple card from someone who -- her identity remains unknown, it was a female, a woman who wrote them a card and simply said to the crew of apollo 8, thank you for saving 1968. and i think they felt that was what they did. so they all went back to the rest of their work, to the work that consumed them afterwards. but they knew what they had done for the world. and i think that is a pretty darn good legacy. >> i think there was an element of surprise there, too. to hear religious text coming from a mission because already we were thinking of nasa and space flight as being all about science and technology and the fact that they literally were at another world and they were out in the cosmos, i don't think
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anyone expected them to convey that particular message. >> right. and if you remember the famous activist, atheist matt lynn o'hare back then she filed a suit or threatened to file a suit because this was mixing church and state and it was a government enterprise and they had read scripture. and the whole world basically said, fight a different fight, please, don't fight this fight. and when frank boreman spoke, they all addressed congress and when he addressed in his talk, the supreme court was sitting right down in front and he said, and i was very happy to be able to read the verses of genesis just a few years the supreme court had ruled that prayer could not be in public schools but he said now seeing the nine gentlemen in the front row i'm wondering if maybe we shouldn't have done that. and everyone laughed. because everyone knew -- abiding strictly by separation of church and state, of course that
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technically broke the rules. but it broke the rules for such a grander good. so i don't think reasonable people objected. >> thank you for your comments. >> thank you. >> well i want to thank all you for joining us today and join me in thanking jeffrey kluger for joining us. [ applause ] >> you're watching american history tv. 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span 3. follow us on twitter @ c-span history on information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. we're on the campus of ku in lawrence kansas, up next we take you inside of the wilcox collection of political contemporary movements, the largest movements of left and right wing literature in the country. >> the wilcox collection is a

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