Lucas Reilly, an assistant editor at mental_floss, made a list of different speeches from well-known personalities that nobody ever heard. For what reason? You are about to find out. Here’s the list of historical speeches that was never addressed.
1. “IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER”
In case something went awry while the world waits for Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to land on the moon, Speechwriter, William Safire wrote a speech addressed to H.R. Haldeman- Nixon’s Chief of Staff and includes chilling directions for the president, NASA, and clergy.
Here’s the text:
IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER:
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.
2. EISENHOWER’S “IN CASE OF FAILURE” MESSAGE
Despite a year of strategizing, General Dwight D. Eisenhower isn’t as confident as he sounded before the Normandy Invasion. Actually, One day before the invasion, he prepared a brief speech just in case the armada couldn’t cross the English Channel.
We can’t blame him. Invasion of 4000 ships, 11,000 planes, and nearly three million men seems impossible.
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”\
3. WAMSUTTA JAMES’S 1970 PLYMOUTH ANNIVERSARY SPEECH
The people of Plymouth, Massachusetts planned a huge celebration for the 350th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims. The organizers invited Wamsutta James, a descendent of the Wampanoag, to give a cheery address narrating the friendly Pilgrim-Indian relationship. But James was not interested in that airbrushed version of history:
“It is with mixed emotion that I stand here to share my thoughts. This is a time of celebration for you—celebrating an anniversary of a beginning for the white man in America. A time of looking back, of reflection. It is with a heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People.”
From there, James exposed a slew of cultural myths. He described the Pilgrims and Native Americans’ relationship, uneasy. He details how in just a few years the Europeans had brought disease and gobbled up land which his ancestors had lived in for nearly 10,000 years. He also said that the friendly Pilgrim-Indian relationship eventually burst in 1675 upon King Philip’s War, destroying the Native American population and Wampanoag culture.
“History wants us to believe that the Indian was a savage, illiterate, uncivilized animal. A history that was written by an organized, disciplined people, to expose us as an unorganized and undisciplined entity. Two distinctly different cultures met. One thought they must control life; the other believed life was to be enjoyed, because nature decreed it. Let us remember, the Indian is and was just as human as the white man. The Indian feels pain, gets hurt, and becomes defensive, has dreams, bears tragedy and failure, suffers from loneliness, needs to cry as well as laugh. He, too, is often misunderstood.”
When James submitted his address for approval, the organizers rejected it. They asked him to read a speech prepared by a public relations writer instead. James walked away.
4. “I DON’T FEEL LIKE RESIGNING”
With no support behind him, Richard Nixon stared into a television camera August 8, 1974, and announced his resignation. What history didn’t tell us is it wasn’t supposed to be that way. That was Plan B.
Raymond Price, Nixon’s speechwriter, prepared two drafts for that address a few days earlier. In one—titled “Option B”—Nixon announced his resignation. In the other speech, he vowed to fight for his job. Here’s an excerpt:
“Whatever the mistakes that have been made—and there are many—and whatever the measure of my own responsibility for those mistakes, I firmly believe that I have not committed any act of commission or omission that justifies removing a duly elected official from office. If I did believe that I had committed such an act, I would have resigned long ago. . .”
“If I were to resign, it would spare the country additional months consumed with the ordeal of a Presidential impeachment and trial. But it would leave unresolved the questions that have already cost the country so much in anguish, division and uncertainty. More important, it would leave a permanent crack in our Constitutional structure: it would establish the principle that under pressure, a President could be removed from office by means short of those provided by the Constitution.”
5. JFK’S DALLAS TRADE MART SPEECH
President Kennedy had begun a two-day, five-city tour of Texas in November 1963. The president was bound for the Trade Mart, where he was scheduled to speak at a luncheon. Unfortunately, He never made it.
Here’s a short excerpt of Kennedy’s undelivered Trade Mart speech.
“There will always be dissident voices heard in the land, expressing opposition without alternatives, finding faults but never favor, perceiving gloom on every side and seeking influence without responsibility. Those voices are inevitable.
But today other voices are heard in the land—voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, wholly unsuited to the sixties, doctrines which apparently assume that words will suffice without weapons, that vituperation is as good as victory and that peace is a sign of weakness. . .
We cannot expect that everyone, to use the phrase of a decade ago, will ‘talk sense to the American people.’ But we can hope that few people will listen to nonsense. And the notion that this Nation is headed for defeat through deficit, or that strength is but a matter of slogans, is not but just plain nonsense.
That day, Americans sorely needed to hear Kennedy’s unread closing:
“[Our] strength will never be used in pursuit of aggressive ambitions—it will always be used in pursuit of peace. It will never be used to promote provocations—it will always be used to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes.”
6. ANNA QUINDLEN’S 2000 VILLANOVA COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS
Anna Quindlen, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, had already written Villanova’s keynote speech when handful of students protested at the Catholic university. They disagreed with Quindlen’s views on abortion, and the issue boiled over so badly enough to make Quindlen bowed out from the event.
Although never delivered, her speech “A Short Guide to a Happy Life” has been widely circulated on the internet:
“Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. . . Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water gap or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.
“And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. . . It is so easy to waste our lives: our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of azaleas, the sheen of the limestone on Fifth Avenue, the color of our kid’s eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of live.”
7. CONDOLEEZZA RICE’S 9/11 ADDRESS
Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to deliver a speech on September 11, 2001 at Johns Hopkins University. She addressed “the threats and problems of today and the day after.” Terrorists made their own statement that morning, forcing Rice to scrap her speech.
Excerpts from Rice’s address leaked to The Washington Post back in 2004. The speech did not mention Al Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden, rather, it promoted missile defense as an upgraded security strategy.
“We need to worry about the suitcase bomb, the car bomb, and the vial of sarin released in the subway [but] why put deadbolt locks on your doors and stock up on cans of Mace then decide to leave your windows open?”
8. NINOY AQUINO JR’S LAST REMARKS
Philippine Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was against of President Ferdinand Marcos. Aquino’s disagreement to Marcos’s regime, ruled by martial law, eventually tossed him in jail. When Aquino made his way out of prison years later, he exiled himself in the United States. Although he returned home in 1983, upon hearing that life in the Philippines was getting worse. He came armed with a stirring speech:
“I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through nonviolence. I seek no confrontation. I only pray and will strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice. . . A death sentence awaits me. Two more subversion charges, both calling for death penalties, have been filled since I left three years ago and are now pending with the courts. . . I return voluntarily armed only with a clear conscience and fortified faith that in the end justice will emerge triumphant. According to Gandhi, the willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.”
Unfortunately, Aquino never read the address. He was immediately arrested by over 1000 armed soldiers upon his landing to the Philippines. And while waiting for his prison escort, He was shot in the head. The assassination spurred a revolt against Marcos’s regime, which crumbled three years later.
9. FDR’S FINAL WORDS
April 12, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt was having his portrait painted inside his woodland cottage, the “Little White House”. Later that day, a bolt of pain shot through the back of his head, causing him to collapse. By 3:35 pm, he was pronounced the dead caused by cerebral hemorrhage. A speech sat in FDR’s study, unread.
A night before, Roosevelt prepared a speech for Jefferson Day, a celebration of Thomas Jefferson. It was supposed to be delivered April 13 via a national radio broadcast. Here’s an excerpt of FDR’s last words to the American people:
“Let me assure you that my hand is the steadier for the work that is to be done, that I move more firmly into the task, knowing that you—millions and millions of you—are joined with me in the resolve to make this work endure.
The work, my friends, is peace, more than an end of this war—an end to the beginning of all wars, yes, an end, forever, to this impractical, unrealistic settlement of the differences between governments by the mass killing of peoples.
Today as we move against the terrible scourge of war—as we go forward toward the greatest contribution that any generation of human beings can make in this world—the contribution of lasting peace—I ask you to keep up your faith. . .
The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.”