Memories of the Challenger

This is one page of many, check out the intro at I Remember Challenger for others.

This page currently edited by: Dagwood. Past editor: Junior


I was 4 when Challenger and her crew were claimed by that fireball in the sky. It remains one of the most vivid memories of my childhood. We were in kindergarten, and since a teacher was going into space they thought it would be interesting to let the students watch the launch, instead we watched the destruction of lives and dreams. Seeing the Challenger explode was the first time I witnessed death and it haunts me to this day. Thankfully the Challenger centers exist to continue the shuttle and her crew's mission and to keep the memory alive. Tears still well up in my eyes when I read about that day and the lives lost. Seeing Discovery launch and return safely to Earth recently was so moving, Challenger and Colmubia's crew did not give their lives in vain, as President Reagan said, the future belongs to the brave, and we must have brave men and women to lead us there.

From: Tiffany


Here I am researching a report on where the space system had ran into a fault, and reading these statements makes me remember my own. I was very young, about three and a half years old, and actually remember the incident. I was in my living room with my mother, not fully sure as to what was going on until it exploded and my mom started crying. This made me ask more questions until she finally explained what happened by using the "O" ring in the blender to illustrate how it exploded, causing the crew to die. It was probably one of the clearest memories I have of that time of life.

From: Daniel Fugardi


I grew up in Tallahassee. It's been 20 years, but I remember Jan. 28, 1986 very well. I was 13 and in 8th grade. It was cold that day...in fact, several of my friends and I were ten minutes late to our 11:00am class because we ran out to the football practice fields to glide around on frozen puddles (being from Florida, that was a treat!). The tragedy occurred at 11:39am, but I didn't hear about it until after class when I went to lunch. The cashier lady told me what had happened. At 1:00, our science teacher took us down to another classroom, where three (3) different classes had congregated to watch Peter Jennings' ABC coverage of the disaster. Everyone was so grim. For the first time in my life, I began to understand what tragedy was. Watching the film of the shuttle's lift-off and explosion wasn't as painful as the film of Christa McAuliffe's students watching in stunned silence, or the families of the other six astronauts in tears. I grew a lot that day. Mrs. McAuliffe once said, "I touch the future--I teach." She certainly did.

From: Kevin


1/28/86 I had just come out of the operating room at Waltham/Weston Hospital where I had already prepared myself to die. Miracle of all Miracle I Awoke ALIVE! I was still umder the influence of narcotics when I saw on TV the Challenger go down. I didn't know what tine it was, what day it was, and still confounded by the fact that I was still alive -- and then seeing those Wonderful people,(Christa, Judith, Ron, Ellison, Greg, Michal, Francis go to their death) I was terrible confused. WHY AM I ALIVE? Under the influence of Narcotics I envisioned myself going down range with them, --perhaps thinking that in some way in the last final minutes I could think of something that would save US. But the reality, I'm still alive and they are gone. That has given my life tremendous purpose - which I admit sometimes I forget that I have an obligation to fulfill. No matter how painful a tragedy, I do believe there is a DIVINE ORDER OF THINGS (not influenced by what mankind does) and somehow it is working toward making us a more compassionat species.

From: Alfred Cox


I was in 5th grade, Mrs Manfredo's class, we heard the janitor yelling outside our classroom, "the space shuttle" We all went outside and we saw the smoke from the shuttle and then we saw the explosion. The memory is so clear and vivid.

From: stephanie


I remember it like it was yesterday. I come from this little island between Sweden and Finland. My birthday was on the 24th of Jan, and I was interested in what was happening around the world during this time. I came home from visiting my friend this evening, and I saw my mom looking at tv with a scary kind of look on her face. I asked mom "what has happened". She said "it blew up...". We were just so silent, just staring at the tv, couldn't understand what happened... Since that day, I have been a die-hard StarTrek fan and I think I will never stop loving space, thanks to them... Stuff happens when you explore space, and 300 years from now, those guys are gonna have statues.

From: Tom Degerth


My name is Russell O'Brien, professional artist. Back in 1986 I was teaching an art class in South Florida, when the news broke about the Challenger tragedy. Unknowingly to me that Christa use to live less 2 miles from my home in Framingham, Mass. Even went to the same church I did and the same Mass. Did not get to know her personally. Made a painting of her and it has become very popular. To view the painting type in the address www.framingham.com/history/profiles/christa.htm

From: Russell O'Brien


The shuttle blew up on my 18th birthday. Our Physics teacher was third in line for our state to be a part of that program, and he knew Christa from that experience. All I remember was sitting in my Chemistry class, watching the live programming, in shock. I couldn't believe it happened. It was all very scary. Definately changed my perspective on things.

From: Melinda


I was in the 7th grade when the Challenger tragedy happened. In fact, it was such a special event, that we had a television on our classroom (pretty progressive in those days)and our whole class was watching when it exploded. It is something I'll never forget.

From: Adam Warner


I was 21 and in the army stationed in Germany when this happened. I was packing my things to go away to a leadership course and watching the lift off at the same time on AFN (Armed Forces Network). When the Challenger exploded, I didn't realize immediately what happened. After I found out, I was completely devastated, and my heart went out to all those brave astronauts on board. God bless them.

From: Stacey


I was 11 years old, and I was sitting in class. It was a Tuesday morning, I remember, and we were all so excited. I remember my father saying he had a bad feeling about it, but I was optimistic. I watched with my class as they took off, and when it exploded, I remember the shock and horror. I'd never seen a real life event before that resulted in the deaths of real human beings. I cried, the whole class cried. Even our teacher had watery eyes, but he stayed strong for us. That's a day I'm not any more likely to forget than seeing the Trade Towers go down in New York, on September 11, 2001. Caina.

From: Caina Fuller


Twenty years! My, where does the time go? I got to thinking about how I heard about many of the tragedies in my lifetime and they al have one common thread: I heard all of them on the radio. The death of John Lennon-radio; shooting of President Reagen-radio; shooting of Pope John Paul II-radio; September 11, 2001-radio; the death of George Harrison-radio; So when I was driving home from college and I heard about the explosion on the car radio, little did I know it at the time but it would be a trend.

From: Bob Mastroianni


I was 20 years old. I was working at an auto parts store, delivering parts. I came back from a run and everyone was silent and watching the tv, which was strange. They told me the news, and sent me out on my next run. All day long it was all anyone was talking about. I remember be so excited for Krista, the teacher who would teach from space.

From: Jason Kay


I was in the 2nd grade at the same elementary school that Judy Resnik attended. There had been a lot of build-up to the launch, and we all watched it on TV's in our classrooms. I remember watching the replay of the explosion several times, and the teachers not knowing quite what to do. At home that night they were still replaying the accident, and I remember asking my mom to turn it off because I had already seen it so many times. The following year on the anniversary we had a moment of silence to commemorate - I was in gym class at the time. 11 years later I ended up at Carnegie Mellon University, another school that Resnik attended. One of the newer buildings is named after her, and there is a monument to her memory. I thought it was strange that few of my classmates knew who she was, but then they didn't have the personal connections that I did.

From: Heather


I was 14 years old when the Challenger accident happened. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my central Indiana junior high school art class looking out the window watching the snow come down harder and harder. Suddenly we heard the principal over the PA system. We all just knew we were going to get a snow day and be sent home. When he announced what had happened you could hear a pin drop. The school set up televisions in the cafeteria for us and I remember watching the footage over and over. We had a teacher from our school who had submitted an application to be on that flight. I remember it hit him especially hard. Now I live in Orlando, Florida. Each time the shuttle would go up or even a rocket I made sure I could watch it. It's truely an awesome sight every time I see it and most of the time hear those sonic booms when it returns.

From: Anita


On the morning of January 28, 1986, I was a ten-year-old in Ms. Wiggins's music class at Wading River elementary school in eastern Long Island...when my classmate, Charles Hoenig, came bursting into the classroom and in a quasi-panicked state. "The Challenger!" bellowed Charles. "It just blew up!" Ms. Wiggins told us all to stay calm, but I remember feeling shocked. The room quickly fell into a grave silence. Even at such a young age, we all knew just how devastating a disaster this was. I'll sure as hell never forget it, nor will I ever forget where I was or who delivered the news. Absolutely surreal.

From: Walter Donovan, III


I was 13 years old and my whole school had it on because we was so excited that a teacher was going into space. We were so proud of Christa. No one at school knew her but when the Challenger exploded we all cried like we had known all them all of our lives. I now have a 13 year old daughter and on the 20th Anniversary we talked to her about it and once again I cried as if I knew them.

From: Debbie


I remember I was 9 years old when the Challenger exploded. I remember watching the lift off at school, and then all of a sudden everything from the Challenger was gone. I still remember it all as if it were yesterday.

From: Lori Welker


I'll never forget that day. I was a senior in Field Kindley High School and in the bandroom for one of my four music classes that year. We were watching because one of our own faculty and track coaches was among the runners-up. It's a tragedy that has been similarly repeated in my new home - I live in extreme southern Oklahoma and Columbia dropped debris throughout our area... Astronauts are courageous individuals. God be with the fallen and their families.

From: Cyndi Weston


I was on my way home, listing to the radio. When the explosion happened it went scieltent and the all I remember was crying my way home.

From: Kathie

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