On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon.
What if they never left?
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.
These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.
In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.
Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.
For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.
- William Safire, 18 July 1969
But, see, if President Nixon were me, he'd read this, toss it and say, “No.
“We're going back to the Moon - and we're bringing those men back home to their families. I will not leave American dead on the Moon.”
Of course, somebody would point out that on the airless Moon they will keep forever, perfect and eternal mummies the Egyptians would envy.
“Fine - leave it in your will, and we'll launch you up there later.”
Barry Malzberg wrote a very weird, atmospheric little story about an Apollo astronaut who has completely whacked out; it turns out that he'd fired the CSM main engines and launched back to Earth - leaving the other two on the Lunar surface, screaming and cursing…