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Ronald Reagan: Challenger Speech

968 words - 4 pages

On January 28, 1986, a day that was supposed to be filled with excitement and exploration, suddenly turned into a day filled with tragedy and sadness. The space shuttle Challenger was supposed to carry a seven member crew into orbit with one unique member along for this particular mission. Christa McAuliffe was supposed to be the first teacher to go into space as a member of the Teacher in Space Project. Due to this occasion, the media coverage and the number of viewers of this mission was extensive, particularly in schools across the nation. The Challenger lifted off shortly after 11:30 A.M., but tragically only seventy three seconds after takeoff it exploded sending debris and the seven crew members back to earth and into the Atlantic Ocean. All seven crew members aboard were killed in the crash as America helplessly watched. A faulty O-ring in the right solid rocket booster was said to have been the cause of the crash. Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, was in office at the time of this tragic event. President Reagan was scheduled to deliver his State of the Union Address that same evening. His intentions were to mention the Challenger and the significance of that particular mission during his speech. This would not be the case following the events of that day.
President Reagan did not give his State of Union speech that evening, but decided instead to address the nation on that day’s unfortunate events. He acknowledged the bravery of each member of the crew. He named each person who was killed on the space shuttle and also addressed their families extending his sympathy and gratitude. And went on to point out that though the crew members were aware of the dangers they met the challenge with courage and brilliance. Reagan also informed that this was the first in flight loss of an astronaut and the nation together will mourn the loss of the seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and teacher Christa McAuliffe. Reagan adds his feelings of faith and respect in our space program and the people at NASA who make it possible. He goes on to assure that space exploration will continue. While addressing the school children who were watching, Reagan states that "the future belongs to the brave." He also states unfortunately painful things like this sometimes happen and sadly it is all part of the process of exploration and discovery(Reagan)”. He ends his speech with a beautifully articulated conclusion. ”The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, or the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God(Reagan).” “The last line was taken from a sonnet...

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