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Oklahoma Bombing Speech

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    At 9:02 a. m. on April 19, 1995, a 5,000-pound bomb, hidden inside a Ryder truck, exploded just outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The explosion caused massive damage to the building and killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children (Rosenburg, 2011). On April 23, four days after the bombing, President Bill Clinton addressed the public and gave an effective, excellent speech. The overall goal of the message was to appropriately respond to the Oklahoma City bombing, support the ones who lost loved ones, and address what America as a nation should do to keep this from happening again.

    This goal was achieved through these statements made by President Clinton: “Our words seem small beside the loss you have endured. But I found a few I wanted to share today.. You have lost too much, but you have not lost everything. And you have certainly not lost America, for we will stand with you for as many tomorrows as it takes.. Let us let our own children know that we will stand against the forces of fear. When there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. When there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it.

    In the face of death, let us honor life. ” President Clinton is asking the audience to stand up to forces of fear, teach children to stand up to fear, learn from the Oklahoma City Bombing, and keep moving forward. He encourages us to support each other and live through and for those who were lost. Clinton does convey this throughout the speech and specifically through a young widow’s response to the Oklahoma Bombing, who lost her husband when Pan Am 103 was shot down: “.. The loss you feel must not paralyze your own lives.

    Instead, you must try to pay tribute to your loved ones by continuing to do all the things they left undone, thus ensuring they did not die in vain” (Clinton, 2008). The setup of the speech made it effective. The introduction consisted of President Clinton establishing credibility through his respect, showing sympathy towards the situation, relating to the audience, and going into the body by stating he’d like to say a few words. Through the body of the speech, President Clinton reinforces his main points of America needing to learn from this event, move forward together as a nation, standing up for good, and instilling morals in children.

    Clinton ends the speech by saying good will be a result, those who were lost are in a better place, and we must live through them. Clinton ends the speech by thanking the audience for their time. After a tragic event, the President is expected to respond to it. The president is expected to tell Americans where to go, what to do, and what he or she would like to do or how he or she views the event that took place. Therefore, President Clinton is expected to do just this. He states these things throughout this message and gets on the level of other Americans.

    Clinton says in the introduction that he, and his wife Hilary, come not only representing the American people but as common folk; as a fellow American; as husband, wife, parents, and neighbors. Clinton therefore, with coming onto the average American’s level, gives a feeling of relate ability and compassion. Clinton is very believable in the speech through his conversational-type vocal rate and how he worded what he said. Clinton does this through quotes, like the quote from the widow who lost her husband when Pan Am 103 was shot down.

    Clinton uses scripture for credibility, with his statement of good overcoming evil being from Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Clinton, 2008). Clinton also quotes St. Paul and a little girl, who had an idea of planting a tree in remembrance of the children lost in the bombing. President Clinton uses quotations and stories to achieve his speaking goals. This allows him to establish credibility through sources and relate to the audience by being somewhat informal, or on the level of the typical American citizen.

    He uses quotes from people in similar situations, the widow, and known, credible sources, like the Bible and St. Paul. President Clinton did quote the little girl, but it was in a story to show his and his wife’s respect, “Yesterday, Hillary and I had the privilege of speaking with some children of other federal employees — children like those who were lost here. And one little girl said something we will never forget. She said, “We should all plant a tree in memory of the children. ” So this morning before we got on the plane to come here, at the White House, we planted that tree in honor of the children of Oklahoma.

    It was a dogwood with its wonderful spring flower and its deep, enduring roots. It embodies the lesson of the Psalms -that the life of a good person is like a tree whose leaf does not wither” (Clinton, 2008). President Clinton delivers this message in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, but he is delivering the message to the community around the bombing and Americans. This is because the speech was recorded and televised. Although, he does appeal directly to the audience actually around him with a quote from the governor’s wife, Mrs.

    Keating, “”If anybody thinks that Americans are mostly mean and selfish, they ought to come to Oklahoma. If anybody thinks Americans have lost the capacity for love and caring and courage, they ought to come to Oklahoma” (Clinton, 2008). I was very impressed with President Clinton’s speech. President Clinton addressed his main points, was credible, relatable, had good vocal rate, and sources in his speech. Therefore, his speech was effective. References Clinton, W. (2008). Americanrhetoric. com. Retrieved from http://www. americanrhetoric. om/speeches/wjcoklahomabombingspeech. htm Rosenburg, J. (2011).

    About. com. Retrieved from http://history1900s. about. com/cs/crimedisaster/p/okcitybombing. htm William Jefferson Clinton Oklahoma Bombing Memorial Prayer Service Address delivered 23 April 1995 in Oklahoma City, OK Thank you very much, Governor Keating and Mrs. Keating, Reverend Graham, to the families of those who have been lost and wounded, to the people of Oklahoma City, who have endured so much, and the people of this wonderful state, to all of you who are here as our fellow Americans. I am honored to e here today to represent the American people. But I have to tell you that Hillary and I also come as parents, as husband and wife, as people who were your neighbors for some of the best years of our lives. Today our nation joins with you in grief. We mourn with you. We share your hope against hope that some may still survive. We thank all those who have worked so heroically to save lives and to solve this crime — those here in Oklahoma and those who are all across this great land, and many who left their own lives to come here to work hand in hand with you.

    We pledge to do all we can to help you heal the injured, to rebuild this city, and to bring to justice those who did this evil. This terrible sin took the lives of our American family, innocent children in that building, only because their parents were trying to be good parents as well as good workers; citizens in the building going about their daily business; and many there who served the rest of us — who worked to help the elderly and the disabled, who worked to support our farmers and our veterans, who worked to enforce our laws and to protect us.

    Let us say clearly, they served us well, and we are grateful. But for so many of you they were also neighbors and friends. You saw them at church or the PTA meetings, at the civic clubs, at the ball park. You know them in ways that all the rest of America could not. And to all the members of the families here present who have suffered loss, though we share your grief, your pain is unimaginable, and we know that. We cannot undo it. That is God’s work. Our words seem small beside the loss you have endured. But I found a few I wanted to share today.

    I’ve received a lot of letters in these last terrible days. One stood out because it came from a young widow and a mother of three whose own husband was murdered with over 200 other Americans when Pan Am 103 was shot down. Here is what that woman said I should say to you today: The anger you feel is valid, but you must not allow yourselves to be consumed by it. The hurt you feel must not be allowed to turn into hate, but instead into the search for justice. The loss you feel must not paralyze your own lives.

    Instead, you must try to pay tribute to your loved ones by continuing to do all the things they left undone, thus ensuring they did not die in vain. Wise words from one who also knows. You have lost too much, but you have not lost everything. And you have certainly not lost America, for we will stand with you for as many tomorrows as it takes. If ever we needed evidence of that, I could only recall the words of Governor and Mrs. Keating: “If anybody thinks that Americans are mostly mean and selfish, they ought to come to Oklahoma.

    If anybody thinks Americans have lost the capacity for love and caring and courage, they ought to come to Oklahoma. ” To all my fellow Americans beyond this hall, I say, one thing we owe those who have sacrificed is the duty to purge ourselves of the dark forces which gave rise to this evil. They are forces that threaten our common peace, our freedom, our way of life. Let us teach our children that the God of comfort is also the God of righteousness: Those who trouble their own house will inherit the wind. ? Justice will prevail.

    Let us let our own children know that we will stand against the forces of fear. When there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. When there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it. In the face of death, let us honor life. As St. Paul admonished us, Let us “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. “? Yesterday, Hillary and I had the privilege of speaking with some children of other federal employees — children like those who were lost here. And one little girl said something we will never forget. She said, “We should all plant a tree in memory of the children. So this morning before we got on the plane to come here, at the White House, we planted that tree in honor of the children of Oklahoma. It was a dogwood with its wonderful spring flower and its deep, enduring roots. It embodies the lesson of the Psalms — that the life of a good person is like a tree whose leaf does not wither. ? My fellow Americans, a tree takes a long time to grow, and wounds take a long time to heal. But we must begin. Those who are lost now belong to God. Some day we will be with them. But until that happens, their legacy must be our lives. Thank you all, and God bless you.

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