Ronald Regan: Challenger Disaster Speech

The speech on the Challenger Disaster was given by Ronald Regan who served as the president of the United States between 1981 and 1989. It was delivered at the Oval Office of the White House. The speech was given out on January 28, 1986.  The purpose of the speech was to mourn and give tribute to the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger who died after a terrible accident (Reagan, 1986). As the president of the most powerful nation in the world, Reagan was expected to make important remarks concerning a tragedy that interfered with space exploration.

During the delivery of the speech, the speaker repeated words such as “tragedy” and “loss” in order to emphasize to the nation that what had happened was horrible (Reagan, 1986). The speaker chose a medium rate of speaking in order to give the audience time to digest his ideas. In terms of volume, the speaker mainly adopted a soft voice that was touching or moving. The tone of the speech was positive since words such as “brave,” “faith,” and “daring” were used to bring comfort (Reagan, 1986). Some of the most important gestures that the speaker used to make the speech impressive included varying facial expressions and pauses.

It is also important to note that the speaker used important persuasive appeals in the speech. For instance, by saying that “Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger” (Reagan, 1986, para. 1), he used pathos to appeal to the audience’s emotions. By stating that “…the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly” (Reagan, 1986, para. 2), the speaker used logos to appeal to the audience’s sense of reason. Overall, the speech was successful in the sense that Reagan used it to acknowledge the work of the fallen heroes and NASA in general.


Reagan, R. (1986). Speech on the Challenger Disaster. Retrieved from

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