Grieving Nation Looks to President.

One of the unofficial duties of the president is to serve as the ceremonial head of the government. Often time amidst national crises or tragedies, the president assumes the role of “Comforter-in-Chief” to provide a calm voice and a steady hand. On this day in 1986, the Challenger Space Shuttle, exploded after liftoff, killing all on board, including the crew. Below is part of President Ronald Reagan’s address to a grieving nation. Watch the transcript below and discuss the questions that follow.

Discussion Questions:

1. How did President Reagan give meaning to the shuttle disaster?

2. How does Reagan call upon American values in his address?

3. Besides the shuttle disaster, can you think of any other instances when a president had to rise to the occasion and comfort a grieving nation?


Photo/Image: The Challenger Astronauts, NASA