Sunday, March 20, 2011

wRITING REASONS 3b: Writing has Power

I cannot believe it's been over two months since I last posted on this blog. While I can think of dozens more writing reasons, I recently discovered that Kelly Gallagher DID list his own wRITING REASONS  - but NOT  book's worth. A future post will share those, but in the meantime, here are some thoughts I wrote several weeks - yes, WEEKS - ago. 

I was trying to recall writing that communicated despair, and all I could think of was President Reagan's speech to the nation after the Challenger tragedy. Upon reading it, however, I realized that hope did shine through as well.
  • Words can reveal despair
Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss. 
Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we've never lost an astronaut in flight. We've never had a tragedy like this. 
And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair,Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. 
We mourn their loss as a nation together. ~ President Ronald Reagan, January 28, 1986
President Reagan had prepared to share a different message that day about the State of the Union, but an unfathomable tragedy occurred that not only altered the scheduled event, it altered the way Americans viewed the space program. Since its inception, not one astronaut had been lost in flight, but this disaster not only took the lives of 7 brave individuals, it also occurred while thousands of  school children watched. Christa McAuliffe was on board, and she was the first teacher in space. Up until the explosion, it had been a momentous occasion!
While President Reagan spoke to a nation in despair, he also buoyed us up as he expressed his continued belief and support of the space shuttle program. He told the children of the nation ... 
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. 
  • Words give form to our deepest desires
  I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today! ~ Martin Luther King, August 28, 1964
How can a discussion about the power of writing fail to include the words of the great Civil Rights leader that we honor during the month of his birth? While Dr. King's desires and dreams did not come to fruition during his lifetime, the people of the United States have witnessed strides towards what he envisioned. His words bring us to a remembrance of history's heartbreaks, present's progress, and future's hopes.