"The night of the Challenger tragedy, a tragedy of space exploration, Ronald Reagan sat down at the Resolute desk, a desk that was itself the literal symbol of man's quest for exploration over 100 years earlier. Reagan looked Americans in the eye, and, with an assist from his speechwriter Peggy Noonan, he said, in part this:Beautiful. Too bad Peggy Noonan has forgotten her Reagan speech writing. Here's a link to a recent Noonan column with thoughts on the Florida primary. Not a word about Reagan's commitment to the pioneer spirit and exploring space. Good thing Mr. Lord is here to remind us of Ronald Reagan's policies and vision.
"'And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's take-off. I know it's 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.…'"Of the three remaining major candidates in the Republican race for president, we now, embarrassingly, have two -- Romney and Santorum -- who are indicating they have no conception of the meaning behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office at which they wish to sit."
"'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.…"
"'There's a coincidence today. On this day three hundred and ninety 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 a 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.''
Another nugget of Reagan's vision from this short speech:
"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."Ronald Reagan believed in wonders and dazzle because he believed in touching the face of God and American exceptionalism.
H/T William Jacobson