On January 14, 2004, President George W. Bush announced the Nation's new vision for space exploration. It is arguable that few of the many who heard him that day can remember the precise words he said. Some might be able to quote verbatim a pivotal phrase; but for most, direct memory of the words themselves has been lost.
Many got the gist of the message, although several not particularly accurately, such as those who thought the President cancelled the International Space Station program. Verbal communication is particularly subject to "noise in the signal."
But many do remember the tone of his voice, which conveyed a great deal of information, too, much like that of President Kennedy's voice announcing our Nation's first space exploration campaign. But, unless President Bush's speech is repeated and repeated, as President Kennedy's has been, the words will likely fade into one's cognitive oblivion, absent a periodic trip back to the speech transcript.
By themselves, words in speeches like President Bush's seldom form meaningful messages without a thorough rereading. Without images and inflections, they are like a downpour that runs off with little soaking in.