Ronald Reagan: January 28, 1986: The Future Doesn’t Belong to the Faint Hearted

Share on facebook
Facebook 0
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn 0
Share on reddit
Reddit 0
Share on delicious
Delicious
Share on digg
Digg
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon 0
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on email
Email
Share on print
Print

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.

                                              President Ronald Reagan, January 28, 1986

 

 

 

As regular readers of this blog know, I am honored to share my birthday, February 6, with the greatest president of my lifetime:  Ronald Wilson Reagan.  Today is my 59th birthday and the one hundred and fifth for President Reagan.  One aspect of his Presidency was the power of his oratory:  Mr. Reagan being a master of giving voice to sentiments with verbal images that could move and inspire his listeners.  One of the best short samples of his skill, is the speech that he gave on the day of the Challenger disaster.  Reagan, obviously filled with grief himself, did not allow his speech to be a mere lament.  While honoring the dead he pointed to the future, and told the hard truth that loss and disaster are the inevitable price to be paid for exploration and new frontiers.  Here is the text of his speech:

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering.

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.

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight; we’ve never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle; but they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together.

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, “Give me a challenge and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.

We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.

I’ve always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don’t hide our space program. We don’t keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute.

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.

I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: “Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.”

There’s a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and an historian later said, “He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.” Well, today we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s, complete.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. 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.”

 

 

More to explorer

PopeWatch: Trolling

PopeWatch suspects the Pope is just trolling us now:   Vatican City, Feb 14, 2019 / 05:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis

17 Comments

  1. Happy Birthday, Donald McClarey!
    Ronald Reagan was the first President I ever voted for. I will continue to hope that another man of his fiber may someday lead our country.

  2. Happy Birthday Don.
    In NZ it is also “Waitangi Day” – commemorating the creation of our nation when, on this day in 1840, most of the Maori chiefs of NZ and representatives of the British Crown met on the grounds of the MIssion house in Waitangi, Bay of Islands to formalise the agreement of the country becoming a part of the British Empire – the signing of the founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, the Maori chiefs ceding sovereignty to Britain.
    It is also the anniversary of my mother’s death in 2,000 – she died at 91 years of age with her rosary in her hands; a woman of immense faith. Its a sad thing that some of her children and many of her grand and great-grandchildren have abandonned that which she handed on to them with so much fervour.
    God rest her soul, and bless Don McClarey and his family and friends.

  3. Thank you Don! Prayers for the repose of the soul of your Mom! 91 years was a good long run although far too brief for those who loved her. I had heard of Waitangi Day but it hadn’t penetrated through to me that it was on my birthday! Rather like being born on the 4th of July in the States!

  4. “Rather like being born on the 4th of July in the States!”

    My youngest grand-daughter, Emma was born on 4th.July in 2005 – she was baptised the same day that my dad died November 11th. – very auspicious. She is now 10, and a beautiful and very talented child – an almost clone of my daughter, her mother.

    She is my family’s American connection which I regularly remind her of. 😉

  5. I enjoy your blog. Happy Birthday !

    HOWEVER – PLEASE it is most decidedly NOT “.. the one hundred and fifth for President Reagan…” The man has been DEAD for over ELEVEN YEARS ! PLEASE !

    [It is ridiculous to say something so stupid as “…Today is my 59th birthday and the one hundred and fifth for President Reagan…” ; you could have at LEAST stated something to the effect of “Today WOULD HAVE MARKED the 105th birthday for Ronald Reagan if he was still with us” OR “Today marks the 105th ANNIVERSARY of Ronal Reagan’s birthday” or something similar, which would have been both more accurate an more respectful [IMHO ! ]

  6. Thank you for the birthday wish Donald, but we must agree to disagree. Birthdays still are observed even when the departed are not among us. I still observe the birthdays of my son who died in 2013 and will continue to do so until I depart this Vale of Tears.

  7. Of course, we celebrate the anniversary of our birthdays, as we do our weddings.
    I was fascinated , as a young sailor in japan, by the fact that they celebrate their birthday anniversary as 9 months before their actual day of birth.
    That notion would drive the pro-aborts crazy.

  8. I will not belabor the point any longer BUT RE : “… Birthdays still are observed even when the departed are not among us…”

    Maybe by YOU maybe even people that you know but I personally have never heard such a ridiculous thing in my life. My father has been dead for over 40 years and my mother for over 20 years and I have NEVER even THOUGHT about “celebrating” their birthdays since their respective departures. The very idea is repugnant to me and frankly smacks of paganism.

    Oh well. To each his own [I reckon] “..we must agree to disagree..”

  9. “and frankly smacks of paganism.”

    Complete and total rubbish. My love for my son and my respect for the dead who are good and great smacks not of paganism but a warm heart, and is a reflection of my love for the God that made them and me. Your taking such umbrage about the innocent observance of the birthdays of the dead I find bizarre, but such differences are what makes for a complex world. I assume that you will refuse to take time off next President’s Day, if you get the day off, since that is officially Washington’s birthday. Illinois observes Lincoln’s birthday on this Friday and the Federal holiday next Monday, and I will celebrate both men during the long weekend when I will be closing my office out of respect for them.

    “[1] Let us now praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation. [2] The Lord hath wrought great glory through his magnificence from the beginning. [3] Such as have borne rule in their dominions, men of great power, and endued with their wisdom, shewing forth in the prophets the dignity of prophets, [4] And ruling over the present people, and by the strength of wisdom instructing the people in most holy words. [5] Such as by their skill sought out musical tunes, and published canticles of the scriptures.

    [6] Rich men in virtue, studying beautifulness: living at peace in their houses. [7] All these have gained glory in their generations, and were praised in their days. [8] They that were born of them have left a name behind them, that their praises might be related: [9] And there are some, of whom there is no memorial: who are perished, as if they had never been: and are become as if they had never been born, and their children with them. [10] But these were men of mercy, whose godly deeds have not failed:

    [11] Good things continue with their seed, [12] Their posterity are a holy inheritance, and their seed hath stood in the covenants. [13] And their children for their sakes remain for ever: their seed and their glory shall not be forsaken. [14] Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation. [15] Let the people shew forth their wisdom, and the church declare their praise.”

    Wisdom 44: 1-15

  10. Self-described Christian people who refuse to honor their noble dead whether by birthday remembrance or otherwise are themselves without honor and worse off than the heathen pagans.

  11. [WHAT UNNECESSARY VITRIOLE !]

    as previously stated : Oh well. To each his own [I reckon] “..we must agree to disagree..”

    (it would have been indeed “ore noble” for you to have simply left it at that !

Comments are closed.