"Dear friends, close acquaintances and strangers, fellow countrymen, people of all countries of all contintents: In a few minutes a mighty spaceship will carry me into the distant regions of the universe. What can I tell you in these few minutes before launching?
"All of my life seems to me now like one wonderful moment, everything experienced and done earlier has been experienced and done for the sake of this moment. You should understand, it's hard to grasp how I feel as the hour for which we have worked so long and hard closely approaches. It's hardly worth talking about the feelings I experienced when I was chosen to make this historic flight. Joy? No, this wasn't only joy. Pride? No this wasn't only pride.
"I felt an immense happiness to be first to enter the cosmos. To enter an unprecedented, face-to-face challenge with nature. But after this I thought of the immense responsibility laid upon me - first to achieve that which generations have dreamed about, first to pave the road for humanity into the cosmos.
"I am aware of the greater difficulty of the tasks than that which I have fulfilled. This is a responsibility not before one, not before tens of people, not before a collective, it's a responsibility before all Soviet people, before all humanity, before its present and future. And if nonetheless I decide to make this flight, it's only because I'm a Communist, because I have behind me the immeasurable heroism of my fellow countrymen, the Soviet people.
"I know, I will gather all my will to best accomplish this task. Understanding the responsibility of the task, I'll do everything within my power to fulfill the tasks of the Communist Party and the Soviet people. The minutes are counting down to the launch now. I say to you dear friends, until we meet again!" - Yuri Gagarin, April 12, 1961
"The Motherland hears, the Motherland knows
Where her son flies in the sky..." - Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky, 1951