Reagan Speech Analysis

Topics: Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, Space Shuttle Challenger, Space Shuttle Columbia Pages: 3 (1067 words) Published: February 27, 2013
Shelby O’Neal
English 102
November 2, 2012
Rhetorical Analysis: Ronald Reagan’s Challenger Tragedy Address “Sometimes, when we reach for the stars, we fall short. But we must pick ourselves up again and press on despite the pain.” The following quote was said by Ronald Reagan to 6,000 NASA employees and 4,000 guests 3 days after the space shuttle Challenger disaster occurred. January 28th, 1986 the Challenger was taking off for its 10th mission. Approximately 73 seconds into the flight the shuttle broke apart and fell back down to Earth, killing all 7 of its crew members. Many people, including young school children, actually witnessed this happening on live television broadcasts. That night, Reagan was scheduled to deliver the State of the Union address. Instead, in order to reassure both the public, families of the victims, and NASA personnel, he changed it so that it was a national address on the subject of the disaster. Due to his high credibility, his appeal of pathos and logos, and his strong image when he presented the speech he was successful in comforting the nation in the midst of this tragedy. One of the most important elements when it comes to making a speech successful is that your audience trusts the person delivering it, establishing logos. Reagan certainly had credibility with the people of the United States at this point in time and that is what helped to make his speech so effective. Reagan was in the middle of serving his second term as President when this tragedy occurred. Overall, Reagan served 8 years (1981-1989), and this alone shows us what kind of man the people of America thought he was. They believed in him and trusted him enough to run our country for two terms. Reagan had a lot of political background before he even became the President. His roles as both governor of California for 8 years and soldier in the army for 7 years also helped his credibility. People saw him as someone responsible, and someone that...

Cited: Reagan, Ronald Wilson. "Challenger Speech." White House. 28 Jan. 1983. American Rhetoric. Web. 4 Oct. 2010
The British Antarctic Study, et al. "Space Shuttle Challenger." solcomhouse. Ed. Charles Welch. The Ozone Hole Inc, 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <>.
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