Remember Challenger: 25 Years Ago 01/27/11
On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 72 seconds after take off. Here we are 25 years later…let us never forget that day or the crew who flew.
I remember I was at Winter Park High School, sitting in theater class when our teacher walked on stage and sat down. He looked deflated, downtrodden, and we all knew something wasn’t right. And then he told us about the Challenger, exploding after take off. It was if he couldn’t quite believe the words he was saying.
Shock. Sadness. Wonderment.
And to think, many of us had taken the shuttle for granted, assuming it was all routine. Many schools had gone outside to watch. My mother, a teacher, stood on the playground with her second grade class, at a loss of words for what to say.
After school that day, the television kept playing the footage and over: 72 seconds into flight, the Challenger erupted into a fiery explosion that ripped the ship apart before tumbling back to Earth.
Yes, there was a teacher on board, but there were also 6 other brave astronauts, each of whom knew the risks and danger their mission held, yet they still forged ahead.
I don’t need to say much. If you were here in Central Florida that day, you will never forget it. I will never forget the footage being played over and over, nor will I forget President Reagan’s final words as he addressed the nation that evening:
“The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye, and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’ “