One of my favorite books is The American Patriot’s Almanac, written by Bill Bennett and John Cribb. I received this book as a gift from my wife. It chronicles the important events that have occurred in our country on each particular day of the year.
I love the history of this county. I love to read about our nation’s heroes. However, I’m amazed at the little pieces of history this book provides that have been overlooked or forgotten.
For December 24th, the book focuses on Apollo 8’s Christmas Eve Broadcast.
The year 1969 was one of the most discouraging in modern U.S. history. The Vietnam War dragged on. Despite major civil rights bills, many people feared the country was turning “increasingly separate and unequal.” The nation grieved over the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Riots filled city streets.
At the end of this dismal year, a Saturn 5 rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral on mankind’s first attempt to reach the moon. On board were three Apollo 8 astronauts: Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders. Their mission was not to land on the moon, but to orbit it ten times. NASA told their wives that the men’s chances of making it back to earth alive were about 50-50.
On Christmas Eve millions of enthralled TV viewers watched as the astronauts transmitted a blurry but miraculous image of the lunar surface. Then they heard the voice of Bill Anders: “We are now approaching lunar sunrise and, for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send you. “In the beginning God created the heaven and 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…”
The astronauts took turns reading the first ten verses of Genesis. Then Frank Borman said, “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.”
After a year of death and destruction, the astronauts’ brave journey and healing gesture were like a balm in Gilead. Apollo 8 held the promise that a free people would not fail after all. Americans coming together could still achieve wonders.
It’s amazing to me that not that long ago, reading a passage from the Bible on TV was considered to be the norm. It’s hard to imagine an astronaut reading those same words to us today. Not only would members of our government likely be outraged, it would probably be difficult to find a television network that would feel comfortable airing such a “controversial” message.
In the past few years, we have witnessed an all out war by some to remove any semblance of our religious heritage from public view. The liberal left began its attack with the Ten Commandments before they moved on to the Pledge of Allegiance. They also sought to remove nativity scenes for public spaces, and now they are taking issue with Christmas trees, demanding that they instead be called holiday trees.
Isn’t it interesting that those who are so enamored with achieving diversity are the same people who cannot tolerate our Christian heritage? This Christmas, we all need to pray that America never turns away from its Judeo-Christian beliefs. We must also pray that people are willing to stand up to defend them.
If you still need a great stocking stuffer, you can purchase the American Patriot’s Almanac by clicking here.
Merry Christmas from all of us at TheIowaRepublican.com.
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