Every holiday season, the trees are decorated in white Christmas lights, except for one. Alan Bean spoke at the dedication of his friend and Apollo 12 commander Pete Conrad’s tree after Pete passed away in 1999:
“The night before [the ceremony] I was thinking about it. Pete’s not a morose guy. His motto was ‘if you can’t be good, be colorful.’ He was good and colorful.
I got up there and I stood there a few minutes and said, ‘Last night, when I was thinking about this, after I dropped off to sleep, I woke up in the middle of the night and Pete Conrad was at the end of my bed, and he said ‘Don’t worry about it, Al. When you get there tomorrow, I’ll help you out.’ So I said, ‘Let’s have some silence now and I’ll see what Pete has to say!’
So we were all quiet, I was looking up towards the heavens, and all of a sudden I started talking, ‘Okay, Pete, thank you for coming.’ I didn’t know exactly what to say and then Pete tells me some things to say… Of course, the audience is completely shocked by this, because this isn’t astronaut talk! This isn’t the way official NASA functions go, but being an artist, they can’t fire me anymore, and so I can do what I thought Pete would like.
Then I say, ‘Okay, I’ll do that, I’ll tell George Abbey [JSC Director] that,’ then I turned around and said, ‘George, Pete wants to say something to you through me.’ Then I looked up again and I said, ‘Now, look, Pete says that he was the smallest guy in the office all these years and he doesn’t want to have the smallest tree, and he doesn’t want the tree to be the same as anybody else’s… George, he wants his tree not to have white lights but to have colored lights, because we all know Pete Conrad was good and colorful.’
So I said, ‘Thanks, Pete, for helping me out.’ Next Christmas when they lit those trees, all of them were white except Pete’s.”