January 28, 2014

Remembering the Challenger 7...28 years later

Many people remember when John F. Kennedy was shot. Some people remember such details as what they were wearing, where they were, what they were doing, how they learned about the tragedy, etc.

I will always remember January 28, 1986, when space shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after launch.

This is my recollection of the days events:

I was a 15-year-old high school student; I was in my 5th period Biology class. It was a sunny January day. I remember thinking to myself "I can't wait to get home to watch the replay of the launch while I do my homework". I remember looking at the clock; it was around 11:30am. However, my thoughts were not about eating lunch in 30 minutes; my thoughts were about Challenger. I thought to myself "surely the space shuttle has blasted off by now and they are in space.....I guess everything worked out this time."  I remember thinking about Ronald McNair and, at the time, I thought he was the 1st African American in space. I thought to myself "I am going to be the 1st African American woman in space!" I thought about Christa McAuliffe, the Teacher from New Hampshire, who captured everyone's heart, by being chosen to go into space.

About 11:45am, give or take a few minutes, my excitement turned to sadness when I heard PA system turn on over the speaker in the classroom. My spirit told me that something major had occurred...at that moment, my heart sunk and I knew Challenger was in trouble. A few seconds later, the Principal delivered the devastating news, "We have received news that space shuttle Challenger has exploded in flight...please pray for the 7 astronauts and their families." I prayed and I was numb the remainder of the day.

When I got home that afternoon, I was glued to the TV. I watched, over and over and over and over video of Challenger blasting off.....then exploding.

28 years later, I still remember that day very clearly.  So today, January 28, 2014, in memory of Challenger, I still say "God Bless You" and "rest in peace my friends". You will always hold a special place in my heart!

Challenger\'s Crew - Mission STS 51-L - Preview Image

The STS-51L crewmembers are: in the back row from left to right: Mission Specialist, Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Greg Jarvis and Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Pilot Mike Smith, Commander, Dick Scobee and Mission Specialist, Ron McNair. The crew members were lost with the Space Shuttle Challenger 73 seconds after lift off on January 28, 1986.

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