January 28, 2012

In Memory of the Challenger 7......26 years later

January 28, 1986.....I was a 15-year-old high school student and I was in my 5th period class, Biology. I remember looking at the clock. It was 11:30am. I thought to myself, "Challenger has surely blasted off by now and they are in space.....I guess everything worked out this time." I remembered the news reports from days prior and all the launch delays Challenger had been through. As I returned to the class assignment, which was on my desk, I had 1 last thought. I thought about how diverse the "Challenger 7" crew were. Ronald McNair was African American, Judith Resnik was of the Jewish religion, Greg Jarvis was born in my hometown of Detroit, MI, Ellison Onizuka was from Hawaii, and of course, Christa McAuliffe, the Teacher from New Hampshire who captured everyone's heart. I recalled thinking "I can't wait to get home and watch re-runs of the launch on tv while I do my homework."

About 11:45am, give or take a few minutes, I heard PA system turn on over the speaker in the classroom. At that moment, my heart sunk and something in my spirit told me "uh oh.....Challenger....something has gone wrong." A few seconds later, the Principal interrupted class (over the PA system) and delivered the devastating and horrible news. The Principal said "We have received news that space shuttle Challenger has exploded in flight...please pray for the 7 astronauts and their families." He confirmed what my spirit had already told me seconds before. I prayed, as the Principal had instructed, but remember feeling so sad the rest of the day.

When I got home that afternoon, I was glued to the tv. I watched, over and over and over and over Challenger blasting off. And the last words from Commander Dick Scobee "Roger, go at throttle up."

26 years later, I still remember that day very clearly.  So today, January 28, 2012, I write this blog as a tribute, a thank you, a memory, and a "God Bless You Challenger 7."  Rest in peace my friends. You are not forgotten.......

The Space Shuttle Challenger Crew

Back row (L-R): Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.
Front row (L-R): Michael J. Smith, Francis "Dick" Scobee, Ronald McNair.

Space Shuttle Challenger taking off on January 28, 1986

Mission insignia (this patch is sewn onto the crew's launch and entry suits)

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