On January 28th, 1986, the Challenger exploded after launching with delays just days before. Media coverage of the mission was extreme because of Christa McAuliffe, who was going to be the first school teacher to go on a mission to space. Many people around the globe witnessed the destruction of the space shuttle on tv.
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This tragedy called for President Ronald Reagan to address the issue. Through the rhetorical arrangement and style of his speech, Reagan expressed condolences to people who were affected by the event. The way the address was arranged allowed him to acknowledge what happened and advocate for future expansion into space. Reagan began his speech by empathizing with the pain that people are feeling: “Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.” (see para 1).
In this statement, he addresses his wife to deliver relatable speech. He then expands his viewpoint to all Americans. By delivering the speech in this way, he shows himself as a person that can empathize and relate to his fellow man. After this, the speech’s arrangement follows along a path to explain to the public how things like this can happen. Although painful, disasters were normal and almost usual during dangerous rocket launches Another sentence states that, “For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do the full impact of this tragedy” (see para 4).
He puts himself at the same level as family to show that his sympathy is just as heartfelt as the family of the seven. He goes on to talk about how the astronauts died a courageous death while doing something they loved; they died as “pioneers”. The wording he used when he expressed his feelings caused him to sound empathetic. Afterwards, he addresses the youth that were watching; “And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s take-off” (see para 6).
He acknowledges them because younger people are the next-generation of the U.S. Also by addressing the children, Reagan creates a sense of relaxation to the audience.Reagan assures everyone listening and brings them into his main argument, advocating for future space exploration: We’ll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. (see para 9). The president delivered his speech while in the Oval Office and with a calm and solemn speech pattern. These aspects helped to lend Reagan credibility as a leader and an empathetic person.The main point of his message was to deliver condolences to the people who were deeply affected by the accident and to remind us that this is just part of the process of exploration, and to push for future space quest. He supported this claim when he said, “We’ll continue our quest in space.”
And also when Reagan says, “Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.” He goes on to talk about the connection between Sir Francis Drake and the astronauts, to show that what they do is very important to discovery and even though it led to their death, was not in vain. It was a stepping stone for future exploration. Overall, throughout his whole speech he is empathizing with those affected by this event, while still getting his main message across. He indicates that we are hurt because of the loss but, we will move on from this event and look on toward the future.
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