I can remember Christmas at Cape Kennedy. We had a huge Christmas tree in our cafeteria in the administrative building in the town of Cape Canaveral.
On the last day before Christmas employees were invited to the cafeteria to have cookies and punch.
The chorus would lead everyone in singing a few carols and we were all dismissed early…eager to get home to be with our families.
Decorations were evident in the VAB also…with wreaths hung in the strangest places…over equipment, over doors, over railings. Small Christmas trees decorated each office as one traversed the hidden areas of the VAB.
I don’t remember anyone ever exchanging gifts. We all were just thrilled and happy to have a few days off to spend with our families. Some who had accrued a lot of vacation time would always take the week between Christmas and New Years, leaving the newer employees to cover.
In every hall and office “Merry Christmas,” not Happy Holidays, greeted us.
Christmas was filled with joy and glee. But somewhere in the back of everyone’s thoughts were the launches yet to come, the new unknown problems to be solved, the commitment to make our country proud…to make the tough schedule put upon the Cape to launch before 1970.
Even at Christmas, Apollo and the work ahead were never forgotten. Oh, pushed aside for a little while to enjoy the festivities of the season…but dangling like an apple before a horse, pulling us onward to the greatest technical achievement by mankind…putting American men on the moon…and bringing them back safely.