This is one of two American flags that were flown over the U.S. Capitol before being sent with the Apollo 11 astronauts on the first lunar landing mission, from July 16 to July 24, 1969. The voyage achieved a national goal announced by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961, before a special joint session of Congress—to send an American safely to the Moon and back by the end of the decade.
On September 16, 1969, just two months after their celebrated return, the crew members of Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, addressed a joint meeting of Congress. Each astronaut spoke about the significance of the first Moon landing and cited the role of Congress in facilitating the successful mission. At the conclusion of the meeting the astronauts presented this flag to Vice President Spiro Agnew; a second flag, which had flown over the House Chamber before traveling aboard Apollo 11, was presented to Speaker John McCormack.
Stitched onto the five-by-eight-foot flag is a label that reads: “This flag accompanied Apollo XI astronauts on man's first voyage to the surface of the moon, July 16-24, 1969. It was presented to the Senate by the Astronauts on September 16, 1969.”