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On Tuesday, December 11, the National Air and Space Museum commemorated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8 with an evening at Washington National Cathedral. 

Apollo 8 was the first human mission to the Moon, and its crew were the first people to see the far side with their own eyes. The mission’s dramatic highlights included a live Christmas Eve broadcast during which the astronauts read verses from the Book of Genesis in lunar orbit, and the iconic Earthrise photo, which stunned the world with the beauty and isolation of our home in the cosmos. 

The evening’s speakers, including Apollo 8 astronaut Jim Lovell and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Michael Curry, celebrateed that moment of unity and the spiritual meaning of exploration embodied by the first flight to the Moon. A dramatic choral performance recreated the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast. Apollo 8 challenged our understanding of human limitations. Fifty years later, we came together to honor the Spirit of Apollo.

Speakers included:

  • Capt. James A Lovell, NASA astronaut (Apollo 8, Apollo 13, Gemini 7, Gemini 12)
  • The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
  • Ellen R. Stofan, John and Adrienne Mars Director of the National Air and Space Museum
  • Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator
  • The Very Rev. Randy Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral

This event was part of our Apollo 50 celebration, commemorating the 50th anniversaries of the Apollo missions. Learn more about other Apollo 50 events.

Support for this program was generously provided by Boeing with additional support from Raytheon.

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