Ronald Reagan’s “Space Shuttle Challenger”
Since the presidency of George Washington, the people of The United States have turned to the commander in chief in times of distress to receive assurance and hope. Kurt Ritter comments on President Reagan’s address to the nation given on January 28, 1986 saying, “Perhaps no president could have fulfilled the country’s need to mourn and, then, to begin to heal as skillfully as Ronald Reagan (Ritter, 3).” On that morning the space shuttle “Challenger” violently exploded while the nation watched live televised coverage of the shuttle’s launch. President Reagan was scheduled to give his State of the Union Address on that date, but instead he reached out the country in
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President Reagan moderately used the appeal to logos in his speech but there were a few points that it was relevant. Logos was used to give the country background information on the space program when he said “Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this.” He stated this information to convey to the nation that these types of tragedies do not occur often in our space program. He wanted to ease their minds of the thought that this would be a recurring problem. He strengthened the people’s support even furthur for the space program by saying that for “25 years the space program has been dazzling the country with its achievements”. Reagan stated a coincidence or historical event that occurred in his speech as “On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama.” He likened the dedication and pioneer efforts of Drake to those of the deceased astronauts. The president used the logos appeal to strengthen the ethos and pathos appeal with facts and historical input. However, this appeal did add to the reaction of the audience toward returning their emotions toward a more stable state.
Given the situation, a national tragedy, and the tone of President Reagan’s speech, the main appeal to the