4. Ronald Reagan. Addressing the nation about The Challenger.
January 28, 1986. Washington, D.C.
On January 28, 1986, the whole of USA tuned into their televisions and radios, to witness 7 Americans take off in a space shuttle, known as The Challenger. Unfortunately, just 73 seconds later the whole shuttle was consumed by a fireball, and every person inside the shuttle died. Naturally, the whole country was shattered, and this is when the incumbent President, Ronald Reagan stepped in and made one of his most notable speeches of all time.
“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.
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 the journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”
You can hear the full speech here.
5. Winston Churchill. “We Shall Fight On The Beaches”.
June 4, 1940. House of Commons, London.
During the battle of France, the entire Allied forces were trapped in the Dunkirk bridgehead due to being cut off from all sides by the German troops. On May 26, a humongous evacuation effort was made for the trapped troops, which was famously known as Operation Dynamo. After the evacuation was done, Churchill spoke in the House of Commons, and delivered one of his most famous speeches.
“The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”
6. Charles de Gaulle. The Appeal Of 18 June.
June 18, 1940. London.
In June 1940, when it was evident that France was losing their motherland to Germany, Charles de Gaulle made his memorable speech. Since he refused to sign an armistice, he was forced to resign from his position, and his successor, Marshal Phillippe Petain worked towards fostering peace with Germany. Since he was vehemently against this decision, he escaped to England and obtained Winston Churchill’s permission to make a speech on the BBC radio.
“But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No!
This war is not limited to the unfortunate territory of our country. This war is not over as a result of the Battle of France. This war is a worldwide war. All the mistakes, all the delays, all the suffering, do not alter the fact that there are, in the world, all the means necessary to crush our enemies one day. Vanquished today by mechanical force, in the future we will be able to overcome by a superior mechanical force. The fate of the world depends on it.”
You can read the full speech here.