President Reagan Challenger Disaster Speech Analysis

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Seventy three seconds into its flight, the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all seven passengers on board, including Christa McAuliffe, who was to be the first civilian in space. This was to be the Challenger’s tenth mission and, sadly, it turned out to be its final one as well. Following an investigation called for by President Reagan, it was determined that the crash was ultimately caused by two rubber O-Rings, designed to separate the rocket boosters, that failed due to cold temperatures on the morning of the launch (“Challenger Disaster”). In his address to the nation on January 28, 1968, President Reagan uses allusion, pathos, and tone to comfort the audience after the catastrophic events. In his speech, Reagan manipulates his…show more content…
He begins speaking about the disastrous occasion that was Apollo 1. Three astronauts were killed as a result of a cabin fire in 1967, but NASA has never experienced a calamity like this before. He mourns their loss, but also raises up their names in praise. “Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly” (Reagan). While alluding to the horrific incident aboard Apollo 1, he makes certain of the fact that the families of the victims and citizens everywhere are aware of their bravery in this worst-case scenario that catastrophically played out on live television. He praises the bravery of the victims to not only carry their names on in virtue, but to also announce to the public that they did their jobs as well as they possibly could have in their horrendous situation. He is trying to paint a picture in the minds of the audience of bravery and comfort their worries of last second

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