Friday, January 28, 2011

In Memory of the Challenger 7 Crew

It was the defining moment for my generation.  The older generation says they will never forget where they were when President Kennedy was shot and of course we all remember Sept. 11th.  I will never forget that day 25 years ago that Space Shuttle Challenger and her crew were lost.  It seems like yesterday and yet, so many things have happened since.

I was in 5th grade and it was my day for gifted class.  The usual protocol was to have a fire drill that coincided with shuttle launches so we would all be out on the PE field to see the launch go.  On this day, we didn't have a fire drill.  The launch happened during lunch time so we didn't go out.  We were in the gifted classroom, eating lunch and watching the television for what seemed like any ordinary shuttle launch.  Growing up with the Space Center in our back yards and having parents and grandparents that worked out there, we had seen enough of these to think it was just something everybody got to see and a regular part of our lives.  I guess you could say that we really took it for granted.  What we saw though, was anything but an ordinary launch and we knew that as soon as we saw the smoke split into what looked like a Y in the air.  That was something we hadn't seen before and we watched in shock, not knowing exactly what this would mean.  We were all concerned, many of us crying, worried that pieces of the wreckage could have fallen back down toward the Space Center, not knowing if our Dads, Grandads, all those we knew were safe, unsure of the extent of the damage.  It was a very sad day.  We had never known a tragedy of this magnitude and we saw it happen live.  I remember that it was so very cold on that January day.  You could see your breath in front of your face.  I had an ear infection and my mom took me to the doctor that afternoon.  When we came home, I remember seeing my Dad sitting in front of the television.  They had all been sent home from work early and  I could tell when I looked at him that he wasn't doing well with this.  We all just felt such a sense of loss.  That's the amazing thing about the Space community; we are like a family.  We all cheer together with successful launches and we mourn together when lives are lost. 
I remember watching President Reagan on television as he addressed the nation.

This accident has left a lasting impression on us all as we watched them "slip the surley bonds of earth to touch the face of God."  On facebook today, so many of my friends recalled where they were and what they were feeling.  Tonight I am incredibly grateful for all of the astronauts that have risked their lives for space exploration and I am praying special prayers for the families of those astronauts that were lost 25 years ago today.

1 comment:

  1. This affected me too but I was far from your world. I was a freshman in a small college in Oklahoma and was frustrated we had class. I decided to be a few minutes late because I wasn't going to miss the launch...and then it happened...and I walked in class late. My professor asked if I was okay, but I didn't reply because some other students came in with the same expression. Then we all spoke at once. Our statements that the shuttle had exploded disrupted everything and we talked about that instead of sociology.

    I still remember and have often thought of their children. I have never thought about the families that worked directly with the program but I will from now on.

    Thank you for sharing.