AT&T and Nixon Foundation Lead Country’s 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Moon Landing with “Earth to Moon: The Longest Distance Phone Call In History” on July 20 and Splashdown Dinner with Dr. Buzz Aldrin on July 23

New Nixon Foundation President Hugh Hewitt announces 
Apollo 11 Commemoration Events on his first day back in Yorba Linda

YORBA LINDA, CA – July 1, 2019 – Richard Nixon Foundation President Hugh Hewitt announced today two events at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda that will lead America’s and the world’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in 1969, the first step humankind took off the planet, a truly historic moment that captured the world’s imagination and enthusiasm 50 years ago and continues to excite everyone with a sense of wonder at the planets and stars beyond our own.

July 20, 2019: “Earth to Moon: The Longest Distance Phone Call in History” celebration, presented by AT&T, will commemorate what was then –and still remains– “the longest distance phone call in history,” when President Nixon called the Apollo 11 astronauts on the surface of the moon. Relive this historic event 50 years to the minute –starting at 8 pm– with Nixon White House officials Dwight Chapin, Larry Higby and John Price who were with President Nixon the night he made the historic call, and a special appearance by Alex Eisenhower, grandson of President and Mrs. Nixon and great-grandson of President and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Free family-fun activities will occur throughout the day thanks to the generosity of AT&T, which provided the electronic wherewithal to achieve this feat 50 years ago and provided $100,000 grant to the Nixon Foundation to remember and celebrate this earth-shattering call.

July 23, 2019: Splashdown Celebration with Dr. Buzz Aldrin honoring the legendary Apollo moonwalker. Dr. Aldrin will tour the Nixon Library’s current special exhibition on Apollo 11 and address an audience of Orange County civic, business, political and community leaders to raise funds for Nixon Foundation programming in Washington, D.C. and Yorba Linda.

Hewitt, for whom this month marks a return to the Nixon Foundation after his role as the first Nixon Library Director in 1989, said: “We have begun a series of celebrations here at the Nixon Library in partnership with generous history-minded donors such as AT&T, and our long-standing, superb partners at the National Archives and Records Administration, which will commemorate significant fiftieth anniversaries of the Nixon presidency. Richard Nixon was inaugurated in January 1969, but there is no doubt that the highlight of his first year in office was calling the brave astronauts on the moon that summer 50 years ago, as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins proved to the world –and into history– that there are no limits to what humankind can achieve when bound together by what President Nixon called ‘the lift of a driving dream.’”

President Eisenhower began America’s space program and President Kennedy made the explicit goal of setting foot on the moon, which became a reality in July of 1969 through the combined efforts of hundreds of thousands of NASA scientists and specialists, and through the remarkable courage of an astronaut corps which has continued to inspire generations of young Americans.

The Nixon Foundation is honored to recognize Dr. Buzz Aldrin at the Nixon Library. He was congratulated by President Nixon from the Oval Office while on the moon, again when he returned to our planet, and again in President Nixon’s retirement at Casa Pacifica in San Clemente, at a party the former President gave for the astronauts and which Hewitt, a newly minted college graduate working for Nixon as a researcher, recalls fondly:

“It was somewhat staggering in 1979 to meet and greet the men who had actually walked on the moon,” Hewitt said. “No one ever loses their wonder at what the astronauts achieved, at how much courage they summoned to enter those capsules and fly that far and return home to an uncertain, risky re-entry and splashdown. There’s a reason the whole country is looking back 50 years this month: It was a peaceful high point in the American Century.”

Hewitt added, “The Nixon Foundation is grateful not just to AT&T for its financial support of this celebration but for their commitment to exploring their archives and assisting the Foundation and NARA staffs in documenting exactly how this most memorable call of the last century occurred.”

For information on the two particular events, visit

Other 50th anniversary events will follow through the next five years, beginning with a major address by the United States Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on the Nixon Doctrine as a model for American foreign policy on July 16, 2019, a high-profile forum at the White House Historical Association celebrating the legacy of First Lady Pat Nixon on September 10, 2019 and retrospective on the famed Silent Majority speech in November 2019.


Hewitt also noted that the Nixon Foundation is expanding its Board in anticipation of a busy decade ahead.

The Foundation is proud to welcome Lisa Argyros, Ming Hsieh, and Dr. Daniele Struppa to its Board of Directors. The new board members assume their positions today.

“Our new directors are rich in diversity, achievement and commitment to the 37th President,” said Dr. James Cavanaugh, Chairman of the Richard Nixon Foundation, who made the announcement.  “They add a depth of expertise in management, finance and public policy, and range from a prominent Orange County civic leader and a distinguished university president, to a self-made Chinese American technology innovator.”

The Board now numbers 22 voting directors and six non-voting directors emeritus.


Hewitt announced that the Foundation will be launching new programs in Washington, D.C. As a result, he will divide his time between California and Washington, D.C. where he will open and staff a D.C. office focused on the strategic vision of realism, backed by American power and promise, that was employed by President Nixon and his administration.

“The Nixon approach of pragmatic realism needs to be applied to the issues of today,”  Hewitt said. “Having a Washington presence will put the Nixon Foundation in a position to offer influence and impact on policy as it is developed, particularly in foreign policy.”

The new Nixon Foundation office on the East Coast is expected to be opened by July of 2020. Its location is now being discussed.


The Nixon Foundation —together with its partner, the National Archives and Records Administration— will enhance its robust schedule of special, dramatic temporary exhibitions at the Nixon Library campus, traveling around the country, and online.

Exhibitions —both originally created and leased— will be timed in 2020 and beyond to celebrate significant 50th anniversaries, such as President Nixon’s founding of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 (Nixon was the first President with an agenda for the entire planet’s well being); the historic “Week That Changed the World” when President Nixon and Dr. Kissinger journeyed to meet Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in China in 1972, and Nixon’s decisive intervention in the Yom Kippur War in 1973 to save Israel after the surprise attack that nearly destroyed the Jewish state.

“It is a great time to return to the Library in Yorba Linda, which was a hole in the ground when I became its Director in 1989, and the land for which hadn’t even been acquired when I joined President Nixon’s staff out of Harvard in 1978,” Hewitt added.  “Now, so many friends of the President and Mrs. Nixon and so many Americans and American corporations that appreciate the centrality of history to our future, like our three new Board members and AT&T, have come together to do what presidential libraries and foundations do best: teach Americans how the future can be even better than the past, by emphasizing the lessons of our unique history. Our lunar landing celebrations, indeed the very person of Dr. Buzz Aldrin, represent the best in American history but not the best that will ever be achieved.”


Media Contact:
Joe Lopez
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