|photos by Robert Kirchner|
The San Diego Air and Space Museum honored Frank Borman, James Lovell Jr. and William Anders for the milestones they achieved as the first humans to travel to the moon and back in a capsule the size of a Volkswagen front seat. It was a historic evening that allowed a sold-out crowd of guests to mingle with numerous astronauts and NASA dignitaries; see students receive awards from the Ford Motor Co. for their Green Energy Ideas; hear the Apollo mission's technical background from Glynn Lunney, NASA Flight Director; listen to Borman's, Lovell's and Anders' recollections woven with humorous anecdotes; and share their unique perspective on Earth and its place in the universe.
Neil Armstrong, the first human to set foot on the moon, was on hand to explain the importance of the Apollo program and the pivotal role the Apollo 8 trio played. "Frank, Jim and Bill, thank you. I salute you." Apollo 8 was an important prelude to actually landing on the Moon. It achieved many firsts, including the first manned launch from NASA's new Moonport, first manned mission to leave the earth's gravitational field and reenter the earth's atmosphere at tremendous speeds, first pictures taken by humans of the Earth from deep space, and first live TV coverage of the lunar surface. A Christmas Eve reading from the book of Genesis from Apollo 8 was heard by an estimated 2 billion people. The evening concluded with recognition of the three wives, all of whom have been married to their high-school sweethearts for over 50 years. Other astronauts in attendance besides Armstrong were Gene Cernan, Buzz Aldrin, and Alan Bean.
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