This Obama Guy is a pretty durn good speechafier. Caught most of his address to the Congress/Nation last nite & liked the whole metaphorical cast of it. Kudos to his speechwriters & to The Prez, as well. Your Humble Scribe understands that he's quite the wordsmith in his own right.
But no one...besides Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, or FDR under so many trying circumstances...could hold a candle to The Great Communicator Himself: The Late, Great, Ronald Reagan.
In case you don't remember, or are too young to know, the above speech, delivered in lieu of the State of the Union on the day the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded over FLA in 1986, is the quintessential look/listen at the craft of speechafying.
Note Ronnie's bearing; the timbre of his voice; his literary & historical allusions; his simple but eloquent diction; the sympathetic & empathetic connection he makes with his audience. Don't think RR wrote this tribute on the back of an envelope, à la Lincoln at Gettysburg; rather, his Wordsmith in Chief, Peggy Noonan (now of Wall Street Journal fame), gets credit for penning this poignant missive.
Stick with this video...which, because of age, has more than its share of bumps and gaps...so you can catch la pièce de résistance, which comes at the very end:
"The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives," President Reagan says. "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."
Chokes Mrs. Scribe up every time. All you English Teacher Types out there...if you don't teach this speech, you should. Why carry on for hours, when you can say what needs to be said beautifully in four-and-a-half minutes?