Christmas for the Apollo 8 astronauts sparks visions of moonbeams, not sugarplums.
On Dec. 24, 1968, the three men became the first in history to orbit the crater-filled sphere.
James Lovell, now 85, commemorated the journey Monday in Chicago, standing next to a hunk of the rocket he rode and reading their Christmas Eve broadcast, The Associated Press reported.
Bill Anders, Frank Borman and Lovell circled the moon 45 years ago to an audience of millions who tuned in to watch live footage from a camera aboard the vessel. They completed 10 orbits that night while quoting Bible verses describing creation.
"The idea of bringing people together by a flight to the moon where we encompassed everybody in our thoughts is still very valid today," Lovell said during the gathering Monday at the Museum of Science and Industry. "The words that we read are very appropriate."
At the ceremony, local high-schoolers read some of the same verses from the Book of Genesis. Gov. Pat Quinn served as host.
Lovell concluded the re-enactment
by reciting the same words the astronauts spoke in 1968:
"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," Lovell said.
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