Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011

Ronald Reagan Postpones His Address

It is the unique job of the President to console the nation in a time of tragedy. On Jan. 28, 1986, during the morning President Ronald Reagan was to deliver the State of the Union speech, the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing the seven astronauts on board as millions watched on television. Reagan postponed his speech — the only time in history that a State of the Union address has been delayed — and instead greeted the nation from the Oval Office for an intimate chat. His message was short, but his words comforting, as he held up the astronauts as modern-day pioneers. When he finally delivered the State of the Union address on Feb. 4, Reagan again mourned the Challenger disaster before turning his attention to the accomplishments of a prosperous America that had enjoyed 37 consecutive months of economic growth.