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Heroes in the Balcony

“Heroes in the balcony” refers to a tradition started by President Ronald Reagan during his State of the Union addresses.

It involves inviting ordinary citizens who have performed heroic acts or have overcome significant challenges to attend the speech as special guests.

They are seated in the balcony of the House of Representatives.

Reagan was known for his ability to connect with the American people and to inspire them through his speeches.

He believed that the State of the Union was not just a speech to Congress, but a speech to the American people.

To demonstrate this, Reagan began the tradition of inviting “heroes in the balcony” to his State of the Union addresses.

At the time, it was seen as a creative way to amplify the power of the bully pulpit.

The first hero came in 1982 when Reagan pointed out Lenny Skutnik, a 28-year old federal employee who had risked his life 12 days earlier when he dove into an icy Potomac River and rescued a passenger of a jet that had crashed on takeoff from Washington’s National Airport.

As Reagan saluted Skutnik, who was sitting next to First Lady Nancy Reagan, he said:

Don’t let anyone tell you that America’s best days are behind her, that the American spirit has been vanquished. We’ve seen it triumph too often in our lives to stop believing in it now.

Reagan’s heroes were often individuals who had overcome significant challenges or had performed acts of bravery and heroism.

For example, Reagan invited a teacher who had helped students escape a burning school building, a police officer who had saved a baby from a burning building, and a doctor who had treated hostages in a terrorist attack.

Reagan used these stories to illustrate the strength of the American spirit and to show that ordinary citizens can make a difference in their communities.

The tradition of inviting heroes to the State of the Union address has continued to this day, and the heroes in the balcony have become an important part of the event.

Presidents have used this tradition to highlight their policy priorities, to pay tribute to the bravery of ordinary citizens, and to inspire the American people.

The heroes in the balcony have received a great deal of media attention and have often become national symbols of hope and resilience.

In recent years, the State of the Union address has become more politically charged, and the heroes in the balcony have sometimes been used as political props to advance the President’s agenda.

Use of “Heroes in the Balcony” in a sentence

  • Each year, the President invites “heroes in the balcony” to the State of the Union address to recognize their bravery and exceptional achievements.
  • The individuals selected as “heroes in the balcony” are carefully chosen to represent the diversity and strength of the nation.
  • The “heroes in the balcony” play an important role in shaping the narrative of the State of the Union address and serve as an example of what is possible when we come together as a community.