Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ronald Reagan Addresses Nation After Challenger Disaster

Pol Light Moment #14 occured when Ronald Reagan addressed the shocked country following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986. Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, serving from 1981-1989.

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart over the Atlantic Ocean 73 seconds into flight, and the entire crew of 7 members were killed. The Challenger was on mission STS-51-L. Crew members lost included Greg Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe (the first school teacher to travel in space), Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Dick Scobee, and Michael J. Smith.

Ronald Reagan cancelled his scheduled address on the State of the Union and instead chose to comfort the nation following the Challenger disaster, which was the first time the United States had lost a crew in space. Here is the address Ronald Reagan made following the Challenger disaster.

The entire text of the speech is at this link. In the closing part of his speech Reagan quoted from the poem "High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.:
We will never forget them, nor 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 (Source).'
Here is another video surrounding the Challenger Disaster. In the piece George H.W. Bush, who was the Vice-President at the time of this Pol Light moment talks about how well Ronald Reagan handled this tragedy.

Ronald Reagan has been featured on other Pol Light posts. To view all Ronald Reagan posts search with the Ronald Reagan label at Pol Light.

Pol Light does not endorse political candidates. We present a brighter side to politics when they are found on either side of the aisle. We don't have to agree with all of a person's politics to recognize these bright moments.

Photo: The photo in this post is in the Public Domain.

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