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Ronald Reagan’s Speech on the Challenger Disaster

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Makayla Davis

ENG 111

Professor Huffman

12 March 2018

Ronald Reagan’s Speech on The Challenger Disaster

The Challenger Disaster of 1986 characterized the United States space program during the 1980s. Space exploration was vigorously common throughout this era in American culture. Numerous missions had been sent out by NASA and all of them achieved new milestones for space exploration. The Challenger’s enormous achievement was that it would convey a teacher, Christa McAuliffe, into space, where she would lead two lessons. On the shuttle there were seven men and women including McAuliffe. During this time, space exploration was at its pinnacle and almost every American citizen was following the space program. Tuesday, January 28th, 1986, children woke up and went to class and the adults went to work. Nevertheless, for the duration of the day, most televisions in the country were tuned to the coverage of the Challenger launch. America witnessed and tuned in to the critique as the 25th shuttle mission took off with what appeared to be no issues. After a single minute and 12 seconds, the space shuttle detonated into a puff of smoke. All that remained to those viewing were two rocket boosters smoking far from a goliath cloud that used to be the Challenger. This tragedy, seen by the eyes of America, created a need for Ronald Reagan, the president at the time, to address the situation. Incidentally, the day of the Challenger Disaster was the day the State of the Union was to be conveyed by Reagan. The “Challenger” Tragedy Address endeavored to help a nation recoup from a repulsive catastrophe, eulogize seven men and women, and reinstill trust in American individuals. Reagans speech executes use of dictation and appeals to pathos.

Reagan begins his speech by saying, “Today is a day for mourning and remembering…[we] are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger.” Throughout his speech he discusses this “national loss.” By addressing it and saying that the disaster also affects him, he lets citizens know how impactful this event was. Later into his address, he takes the opportunity to address the schoolchildren who viewed the tragedy live, explaining to them that “it’s hard to understand, but sometimes painful things happen.” This clarification is much similar to a parent explaining the situation to their child. He closes this part of his address by saying, “The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.” He likewise addresses NASA and discloses to them that he wishes he “could talk to every man and woman who work for NASA, or who works on this mission, and tell them… we know of your anguish. We share it.” By perceiving how much this crash affected everybody, particularly those too young to understand, and to the individuals who were directly associated with it, Reagan shows American individuals that this tragedy affected everyone, even him. He additionally brings his wife, Nancy, into the disclosure when he says they are “pained to the core.” This personal connection additionally proves the effect. When Reagan tends to the size of the issue and what number of individuals were affected, he gives the system to recuperation. As he keeps addressing the misfortune looked by the nation, he also examines how America will “continue to follow [the Challenger astronauts] into the future,” showing American individuals that they will advance from this tragedy.

He also starts to eulogize the loss of the seven astronauts that passed on. He depicts their character: “[they] were pioneers… They had that special spirit that says give me a challenge and I’ll meet it with joy… The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives.” He continually praises them, their characters, their actions, and the bravery to strengthen the amount of misfortune their deaths were. He likewise addresses the “families of the seven,” and how great their loss was, taking note of: “we can’t hold up under… the full effect… however we’re considering you so much,” offering his sympathies for how magnificent the people were. Every notice of misfortune in the address help to set the establishment to eulogize the men and women. Reagan cannot state anything to bring back their lives, however he can and does try and prove what a loss their passing’s were.

The last goal of the speech is to reinstall trust in the American individuals. Reagan does this as he assures everyone that “we’ve only just begun.” He also says that “nothing that happened today does anything to diminish [the space program].” He ends this part of his speech by saying, “we’ll continue our quest into space… there will be more… nothing ends here: our hopes and journeys continue.” He also continues to address fears in this portion of his speech, directed towards the schoolchildren.

Reagan utilizes many techniques to execute his objectives to enable the nation to recoup, eulogize the individuals who lost their lives, and to instill new expectations in American individuals. First, his delivery communicates his emotions. His tone throughout his speech is grave and forlorn, to reflect the misfortunes. He likewise has a more tranquil conveyance to pay tribute to the lives of the Challenger casualties. The way Reagan is giving his speech is fundamentally the same as George Bush's address to nation on the issue of 9/11. However, take note that Reagan is tending to a national tragedy, enabling him to be more passionate and crude with his speech, rather than Bush, who is tending to a national assault, driving him to seem more grounded, and more fired up. The conveyance styles of these two speeches depend on the exigences they deal with.



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