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Men on the Moon, July 20, 1969

On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. walked on the moon. They planted an American flag and left a plaque inscribed, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon . . . We came in peace for all mankind.” The astronauts addressed a Joint Meeting of Congress on September 16, 1969.

Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, National Archives and Records Administration

Men on the Moon, July 20, 1969

Sending Americans Into Space - 2

In the 1950s, the United States and the Soviet Union began programs for manned and unmanned scientific missions into space. The Soviets’ successful launch of the unmanned Sputnik I satellite in 1957 made Congress determined to jolt the U.S. space program into action. Winning the race to space became a political, scientific, and security priority. The United States intensified its efforts to be the first nation to send a man to the moon.