Description

    Jim Irwin Autograph Manuscript Speech Regarding His Religious Testimony and Trip to the Moon. Based on our research, this speech was made before a large crowd at the Baptist General Convention meeting at the Astrodome in Houston in October 1971. The text is handwritten in black felt tip on six sheets (front only) of 7.75" x 10.5" lined paper and is titled "Astrodome", not signed or dated. Apollo 15 had landed back on earth after its trip to the moon just two months earlier and Irwin was beginning to give speeches to religious groups professing his deep Christian faith. It reads, in part: "...We found the moon was a fascinating place to spend six days. - there in orbit and there on the surface. Our minds were indelibly impressed with the awesome beauty, stark features, and nearly overwhelming variety of landforms. Our camp site at Hadley Base was like a beautiful valley on the high mountains of the earth. The hours that I spent on the moon were the most thrilling moments of my life. Not because I was on the moon but because I could feel the presence of God... Before the flight we had the opportunity to brief the cadets at the Air Force Academy. They have a beautiful campus. One of their monuments has the following inscription -'Man's flight thru life is sustained by the power of his knowledge'. We adopted this quote for our flight medallions which we carried to the moon." (Of course, he is speaking of the Robbins Medals.) The full text of the speech can be found on our website. Transcript included. Fine condition. From the Steven R. Belasco Collection of Space Memorabilia.

    More Information:

    Astrodome

    What a glorious experience to be with you tonight. Can't you feel the Lords presence. I would like to share with you some of the most significant religious experiences in my life. My close relationship with Christ began when I walked down the aisle in a small Baptist Church in New Port Ricby, Florida when I was eleven years old. It was a relationship which I have needed daily.

    My greatest personal test occurred in 1961. I had just graduated from the Test Pilot School and considered myself the hottest pilot in the sky. I was instructing students in light aircraft during my free time on weekends. On that fateful morning our little aircraft crashed in the desert. The first blessing was that the aircraft did not burn. The rescue crew extracted us from the wreckage. I had two broken legs, broken jaw, concussion and multiple lacerations. They flew us to March AFB for treatment. There were some anxious moments, I am told when the doctors considered amputating my right foot. I suffered amnesia for the first 24 hrs. My first question was 'Why did this happen to me.' I was humbled my [by] the magnitude of my plight. I prayed for understanding and recovery. I came to realize that I was taking many of my blessings for granted.

    I had to fly again. My assigned job was test pilot on the fastest plane in the world. As I lay in the hospital, I had much time when I prayed. God answered my prayers for a fast recovery and I left the hospital in about two months with both legs in casts. For about four months my wounds had healed and I felt ready to fly. Then I had another disappointment. The Air Force medical policy would not allow me to fly for a year because of the concussion. Finally after fourteen months, I regained my flight status and I was able to soar thru the sky again. I have always felt closer to God when I am in the high places on the earth or in the sky.

    My love for flying led me naturally to the Space Program. My first application was in 1963 but I was unsuccessful. The next selection was only for PhD's so again I was unsuccessful. Then in 1966 there was another selection. I tried again but did not have much hope since I was pushing the age limit. This time I was successful and I came to Houston. My assignments progressed from commander of the lunar module for thermal vacuum test, support crew for Apollo 10, back up crew Apollo 12 and then to prime crew for Apollo 15. There is a great deal of individual preparation for one of the flights. There is the development of body, mind, and spirit. My daily prayer was for Gods help in the preparation.

    As we approached the flight, Brother Bill Rittenhouse and I discussed what I might carry for our church in Nassau Bay. We decided that a prayer covenant would draw us all closer together on our venture into space. I carried a microfilm copy of the covenant on our trip.

    As you know our trip began on the morning of July 26. When we achieved earth orbit, I looked out my window and could see the moon clearly framed in the center of the window. I knew we were on our way. We had one breathtaking view after another as we moved away from our earth and approached the moon.

    We found the moon was a fascinating place to spend six days. - there in orbit and there on the surface. Our minds were indelibly impressed with the awesome beauty, stark features, and nearly overwhelming variety of landforms. Our camp site at Hadley Base was like a beautiful valley on the high mountains of the earth. The hours that I spent on the moon were the most thrilling moments of my life. Not because I was on the moon but because I could feel the presence of God. There were times when I was faced with new Challenges and I asked for help. Help from God was immediate. He was there because of your prayers.

    Now that Apollo 15 is back, we have traveled around the country and overseas thanking [the] men who made our mission a success. But most important - we have thanked God for allowing us to leave our planet earth and to explore our sister planet, the moon. We thank God for allowing us to return to our good earth with new knowledge, new appreciation, and new perspective of our universe and our spaceship earth.

    Before the flight we had the opportunity to brief the cadets at the Air Force Academy. They have a beautiful campus. One of their monuments has the following inscription -'Man's flight thru life is sustained by the power of his knowledge' We adopted this quote for our flight medallions which we carried to the moon. I know that my flight thru life has been sustained by my knowledge of Jesus Christ. Man needs to know Jesus.

    As we travel around the country there is a common response - We prayed for you.' My reply is that I felt the power of your prayers. [T]Here is a unifying effect on mankind thru the power of prayer.

    I quoted a verse from Psalms when I was on the moon. I would like to share the entire Psalm 121 with you because it [is] so much more meaningful to me now.

    May God bless you all.



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