Bob Gomel: "We Choose To Go To The Moon", September 12, 1962

2022-08-15 - 2022-10-02

60 years ago, On September 12, 1962, President John F. Kennedy declared that by the end of the decade, the United States would land astronauts on the Moon. It was 60 years ago this September when Kennedy stood in front of a crowd of roughly 35,000 at Rice University and delivered his historic speech.

"But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, Why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

On the morning of September 11, 1962, President Kennedy set out from the White House to begin a tour of NASA installations. This two-day trip took him to Huntsville, Alabama, Cape Canaveral, Florida, Houston, Texas, and St. Louis, Missouri. Bob Gomel accompanied President Kennedy on this journey while on assignment for LIFE magazine.

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