Memories of the Challenger

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I was 25 years old at this time in 1986. I was in the my kitchen when my next door neighbor called me and had told me the news..

From: Nancy

I sat down and wrote the following without stopping after the Challenger disaster in '86. It just flowed out of me. I'm not saying it's a good poem but it made my father, mr. tough guy, cry... “The vehicle has exploded!” And the words sped me toward a radio. My co-workers and I huddled together, eyes taut on the radio's face. The announcer's words careened off of us in echoing pings of disbelief and pain. And the shock, like novocaine, buffered us as further bits of lethal information began seeping in. Grief accumulated over the hours, the days. Like a too trite script, the scene unfolded on the screen but we could not walk out on the ending. Yesterday I cried as I watched her parents replay their mutual bewilderment; as they added a hopeless question mark to those words “the vehicle has exploded”. Today I wept in sorrow as I imagined the family's unrelenting anguish. And I am angry that routine had quelled my anxieties about such flight; that the departure from routine in choosing her had made me excited about this flight. She was the woman, mother, teacher that I might have become but hadn't. In the interviews she walked with MY spirit, MY guts and now I watched her walk, grinning, to her death. And the world watched as she and six extraordinary others, heroes now, exploded in a flaring, burning, ironically beautiful incandescence; a slow-moving dance into oblivion, with the choreography obscenely repeated over and over and over again. With Kennedy we lost a father, with her a mother. And the children of today who did not live through that chilling November remembrance can now claim their share of hot world-grief, of that assassination on the senses of all, that allows them, too, to say “I it happened”. Good disappeared in this tragedy but maybe, this time, for good reason. We, the earthbound, dreamed through them, as they, so much more than we, were able to become their own dreams. We, the living, died with them, as they, just as vulnerable as we, could not complete their journey this time. By Donna J. Moutier

From: Donna Moutier

I was about two years old when the Challenger exploded on Jan 28,1986. I have always been interested in the space shuttle and the technology on board. when I was in eighth grade I did a report on the Challenger, the stuff I found out startled me. My grandparents were in Florida the day it happened, after seeing it many times it still sends a chill down my spine. I have learned so much about this and when I get out of the airforce I want to become an astronaut. May the seven rest in peace Landon

From: Landon Hess

I was 16 years old in January of '86, and the Challenger explosion really hit home for me. My school had been visited by Challenger Pilot Mike Smith just 3 months prior, and some of the faculty had been his guests at the launch. We were home from school that day due to snow, and I remember the "Special Report" flash coming on the TV screen. After 73 seconds of video, everything I loved about the space program turned into a huge ball of whiite smoke and orange fire. To this day I remember vividly "Roger, go with throttle up..." and "obviously a major malfunction". These things are etched in my mind forever.

From: Mike

I remember exactly when it happened. I was 13 years old, in the 7th grade. I was at home by myself and I didn't think that they would ever take off. Then it took me forever it seemed to figure out that it had exploded. It was horrible. I still feel so sad when I hear about it. On Sunday Jan.14th at 9:00 on E television there is a show about this coming on. It was a horrible tragedy.

From: sandra foster

I was 16, in grade ten and had always been a fanatic about the US space program. I did not see the event live but a friend told me during lunch hour at school. That moment remains the most shocking in my life. When we related the news to one of our teachers we were scolded for saying such things. That afternoons classes we watched all the news footage - ironically with that same teacher.

From: Steve McEachern

I was living in Philadelphia at the time. Our fourth grade science class was wathing the launch on the classroom television. It was not ordinary to watch television in class, but this was an extraoridnary moment since one crewmember was a teacher who was to talk to students worldwide from space. Everyone looked to our teacher for some sort of explanation when the shuttle exploded, but there was none. We continued to watch as the news tried to capture the moment, but it didn't matter what they said. All we focused on was the looped replay of the beautiful takeoff and horrible explosion. I remember it vividly to this day - much like my parents describe their vivid memories of the Kennedy assasination. It really was the tragic memory of my generation.

From: Robert Harrison

I was 15 and sitting in choir during third period. We had two teachers who had made the "final forty" and so for a small school in Illinois this launch was huge. The two teachers were in the room next to us and for some reason there wasn't any singing or talking going on in class yet. We heard a scream from the next room and then Ms Sitter (one of the two) came in and said the shuttle had exploded. The world stopped at that moment. No one moved and then as one we rushed into the room to see the cockpit fall from the sky. To say the least the rest of the day was over. Nothing really got back to normal until the following week. It's hard to believe that it happend nearly 25 years ago. It still haunts me to this day.

From: Eric Stearns

I was almost two years old when Challenger exploded, so I don't remember it too well. My aunt Jan was living in Spain at the time, and she remembers being suprised the next day because the Spanish newspaper devoted seven whole pages to the incident. My uncle Brian was sitting outside his dorm room at college, when a roommate walked out and told him. My friend Sandy was watching TV. My father worked for an engineering corporation, and remembers being in the lunch line, with engineer talk about O rings and hydrogen/oxygen mixes.

From: Celia

I remember being in the 6th grade, in my little Catholic School uniform. Because of the weather, we couldn't go outside for recess. I remember working on whatever the teacher had left for us to do, and the janitor, (who was really more like our friend, than a janitor-he used to play with us at recess, and was really our only male faculty member, so he used to patrol the play yard more or less to keep law and order) I remember him coming into our classroom that day, and I randomly asked if the Space Shuttle had gotten off okay, because we hadn't watched it on T.V. I just remember him telling us that the Challanger, "blew up", we were like, "yeah, RIGHT". So he turned the T.V. on for us and we were like, "Oh my God-it really was true."

From: Julie

I was ten when the Challenger exploded that day. I was at home and I was sick, and even though I was a big fanatic of the space program, I had thought the launch was supposed to be the next day. About 11:45, I was laying in bed when my Mom yelled "Jason, the shuttle.." and her voice trailed off. I ran downstairs to see what it was, and instead of seeing a normal shutle launch, I saw an orange and white blob of smoke with two fingers of smoke flying out of it. I asked my Mom what had happened, and she told me "The Shuttle exploded". As my Mom started to cry, my father called and told her what she had just told me. I remember staying in my parents bed that day, watching the film over and over again, each time getting angry at NASA for what had happened and feeling grief for the crewmembers and the families that watched their loved ones perished. Later, when I learned of the real reason that the accident had happened, all I felt was rage and anger towards Morton Thiokol for making such a dumb and asinine mistake in safety due to pressures that should not have controlled them. Every time I have watched the last flight of Challenger since the accident, I have close my eyes when the radio crackles as the vehicle disintegrates. I can't even watch the footage without nearly crying, for it reminds me of that sad day.

From: Jason

I was 14, in 9th grade. I had gone to the nurse's office to get an aspirin for my headache. Heading back toward class, I walked down the office hall into the main front office, which was usually very busy with all kinds of hustle and bustle. I remember later going back to class, seeing the video, everyone talking about it. But it was that moment, walking into the main office and seeing everyone (secretaries, students, teachers, everyone) standing or sitting rock-still, all listening to one tiny radio on someone's desk off in the corner, that moment that I remember.

From: John Perkins

I was at home with the flu the day Challenger exploded. I remember being huddled up under blankets on the couch watching TV with my grandfather. We were all very shocked and grief-stricken when it was confirmed that the crew had perished. I was 11 years old and in the sixth grade. It was also the last thing I did with my grandfather for he died February 1, 1986.

From: Melinda

When Challenger exploded I was 1 so I remember nothing, yet when I read about it it still saddens me to hear the horrors of the failed launch. May God rest those lost souls.

From: Alan

I know little about the accident. I remember leanrning about it ionschool . I am a seventh grader and wantr to become an astronaut. Just hearing about the accident made me aware of the bravery of the Challenger7.

From: Bobby

We had gym class that morning, and I fainted. So I went home sick. Before I went to the doctor's office, I watched the shuttle go up. I then watched it explode. All I remember is "Oh My God," being repeated over and over and over. My 4th grade science teacher was a semi or a finalist to go up. I heard she fell apart that day. Going to and from the doctor's, I listened to talk radio, detaling the tragedy NASA just endured. Well, not only just NASA. To this day, I have never forgotten any of their names, what their payload details were and what Ms. McAuliffe was going to do for us, to teach from space. God Bless Them and their families.

From: michelle

I never really saw the Challenger Explosion until December 14, 2000. I remember hearing the command "Go at throttle up". At that time....I had my surround sound speakers on and I turned away when I heard that command to get my pen. Then all I heard was a loud !BOOM! I remember my brother telling me about the disaster when I was about 5 or 6. I've been aching to find information about it ever since. But I wish those guys at Morton Thiokol and NASA never decided to give the Challenger a go until spring.

From: Danny

I heard about it in Kindergarten, but I don't remember much except that the principal let us go home for lunch a minute early. (I could tell time!) I went home into the kitchen and told my mom, "The spaceship blew up!" She looked at me blankly for a second and then ran to the TV to turn on CNN. I didn't quite know what had happened or why Mom was upset. Her father has worked for NASA, I learned a few years later. To this day, my mom claims that I'm her and sometimes only first source of newsworthy events. Ironically, my apartment roommate right now is literally a rocket scientist, so just now I'm starting to understand exactly what went wrong.

From: Bev

I was in 6th grade when the Challenger shuttle exploded. I was a fortunate child as my father works for Nasa and I was at KSC when the explosion occured. I remember it launching and then exploding and asking my father why there was so much spoke. I recall him saying Because the shuttle just exploded honey, let's pray for the Challenger Seven.. I don't think I could ever forget that day..

From: Kellie Giordano

We were just reading a book at school about the Challenger and when I saw a picture of the Challenger then I got really sad. Some boys just laughed at it and said "At least I wasn't on there". That made me mad. Our teacher showed us the clip of the Challenger and my heart just sank when we watched the Challenger explode. We'll never forget them, nicole boeve

From: nicole boeve

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