I just wanted to take a moment to honor and remember the Challenger disaster that took place 30 years ago. Each generation seems to have a defining disaster....for my parents' generation, it was the Kennedy assassination. For mine.....it was Challenger, and later....9/11.
I was in 6th grade. As a special treat, the 6th graders were being allowed to watch the launch. The first teacher to go into space was aboard, and everyone looked forward to watching her lessons from space in the coming days. But my class had P.E. during that time...and my teacher decided that we would not watch the launch and we would go to P.E. Our class was so disappointed.
We went to gym, came back, and continued our classwork. A few minutes later, another one of the teachers came in and pulled our teacher aside. She came back in, and told us that there had been an explosion with Challenger. At that point, the media was still very careful about what they were reporting, so there was still talk and hope that the crew may have survived, and that maybe they would find them in the ocean. Of course, as kids, we had alot of questions. There weren't alot of answers. And it opened up alot of emotion for us. We didn't know the crew personally....but there had been so much hype over this mission, we all felt invested in it.
Just like 9/11...the news played footage of the explosion over and over.
My teacher's decision to have us not watch the launch saved us from the horror of viewing it live. But in the days after the explosion, everyone talked about it over and over. In 6th grade, you still have dreams of being an astronaut....so many kids said they didn't want to be an astronaut anymore.
A few years later, our family had moved to a new area, and a new elementary school was being built. They took suggestions on what to name the school....Challenger Elementary was a common vote. Ultimately they decided on another name, but I remember being at the meeting (my Dad was on the board of the PTA....for my brother's school....he couldn't be bothered with me) and parents yelling that this mission was all about education and that Challenger was the "only" fitting name.
So 30 years later, my thoughts are with the families of those who were lost. I remember the day....alot of us do.