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 in first grade and we had all the elementary classes watch the shuttle go into space that day. We were all so excited to see it. We all counted down along with the NASA guy. Lift off. Then as fate would have it, the explosion. So massive. The teachers raced over to turn the tv off, but it was too late. That imaged was already burned into our minds.

From: Donna


I was 5 1/2 and in Pre-school. I remember this day because it was a huge event. A teacher was going to travel into space and we got to watch it live on TV in class. I remember being called to sit on our mats, preparing to watch a live take-off. We all sat with amazement. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 blast off. It was beautiful. Then there was a huge explosion. I couldn't understand. What happened? The teacher was silent and in shock. I soon relised that the shuttle exploded and everyone inside could not have survived. I started to cry. Soon enough class was canceled and our parents picked us up early. I remember my mother trying to explain to me what actually happened and why. 21 years later I still remember everything in detail. I might have been a young child but that day will live forever in my mind.

From: Jennifer


I was at work in Wesley Chapel FL when a few of us went outside to watch the Challenger go up. I had seen many space shuttles go up previously yet on that day, something wasn't right. I still have the vision of "that cloud". The one that split like a "Y" in the sky. We didn't know at the time what happened, we just knew it didn't look right. At the end of my work shift, we knew. It was very sad. My husband and I recently visited Kennedy Space Center. They have a beautiful memorial of all the astronauts that have passed away. How strange it was to feel so sad for people we don't know personally. My heart still goes out to all their families. We will never forget the Challenger crew nor the crew of the Columbia. These people are our heroes...always.

From: Karen


I was 12 at the time.. I remember seeing live on TV the lift-off, the camera showing the happy faces of the people below looking at the spaceship taking off and then the explosion...the shock and sadness... I still cannot forget the look on the faces of the people watching, the news was showing it constantly...

From: Gregory Lyris


I was about 15 at the time and we were finishing up our final year of eighth grade. One of my most favorite teachers of all, Mr. Georald, let our class eat lunch in the classroom and watch the shuttle launch. It was the first time I had seen a shuttle (shame on my Mom and Dad, but it's okay now) - and I could not believe what happened, and half of us nearly choked on our lunch watching what happened. Luckily, I was out shopping for a computer at the computer show when Columbia went up. That computer I bought I named Columbia after the call from my friend who saw Columbia!!! YIKES!!

From: Annette


I remember that day. I was 9 years old thinking that it was so cool that a teacher got to go into space. my mother was a teacher and I remember asking her at breakfast if she would get to go someday because she was a teacher too. School was a regular day. At lunch some of the older kids in Jr high were saying the rocket blew up and a lot of other terrible comments about the body parts of the victims (sick sad world we grew up in). Gym time came and our gym teacher who was not very nice gave us this harsh reality of life speech almost like it was their fault for dying in a fiery grave. I remember being scared to fly in planes for a couple years after that. Watching the documentary of there lives was really sad knowing that the end of the story was death. Its hard to believe that happened 21 years ago.

From: Anonymous B.A


I was 19, and in my second year of University. I had been a space enthusiast for years, but I wasn't paying a lot of attention to the shuttle program at this time. I knew the launch was pending because the launch delays had made the news, so I know that this was the "Teacher in Space" flight. Anyway, I had just walked into the University book store (between classes), and they had a radio station playing in the background. It wasn't very loud, and I wasn't paying attention to it, until I heard part of a news bulletin about Challenger. The thing that amazed me at the time was that no one else seemed to be listening to it, as no one else seemed to react. I went back to my room for lunch, and by then it was on all the TV news stations. For the rest of the day, that's all that was on the news, and I must have seen the last 72 seconds of Challenger replayed a hundred or more times. I could probably recite the NASA public affairs commentary for the mission and its aftermath from memory.

From: Martin Keenan


I was 4 years old when the challenger exploded. I remember because my brother, who was 8 at the time, made a big deal about watching the shuttle take off as it was his dream to be an astronaut. We were at home watching it on NBC, just me, my mom and my brother. We were so excited but it thought they were taking too long to launch, because I wanted to go and play. We watched it take off and my brother was so elated, my mom was excited and even I was facinated at the notion of launch. Then it happned. First it was the smoke and then.....it exploded. Right in front of my very eyes. I turned to ask my brother what happened. I thought that maybe it was supposed to do that, like the hyperspace jump they did had in Star Trek:TNG. He didn't answer; was in too much of a shock. So I quickly turned to my mom and she was so pale and quiet..then she shed a tear. So I began to cry and my brother went into a panic not excepting what he saw. Without missing a beat my mom got up and cut off the TV and began explaining what had happened. My brother wouldn't have any of it but finally excepted and began to cry with me. She then gathered us up and prayed together and asked God to be with the crew who died and their families left behind to mourn. It would take me a few years to actually grasp what I had saw. But every time I think or hear about it, I have to give a moment of silence. For us 80's children, that was truly a day that lived in infamy... Rest in Peace crew of Challenger. We will never forget.

From: Christi


I was in third grade. i went to St. Leonard's, a very small catholic school in Louisville, KY. I remember hearing about the teacher in space program during the months leading up to the disaster, and being only 8 or 9 at the time, and loving anything and everything about space, I thought it was a terrific thing that a normal person was going up in space. To me, it meant that in the near future, everyone could have the opportunity to go up, and by Christa being a civilian, we all were kind of able to live this experience through her. I still remember the footage of the selection process where she was chosen, and the surprise on her face that day. I did not see the actual explosion happen live on TV. We were having an indoor recess on Jan. 28 1986, and as we were all playing and being noisy like 3rd graders will do, I remember seeing my teacher walk in the classroom very slowly and up to the podium, to announce to us all that the shuttle with the teacher had exploded. Her solemness and obvious shock will forever be burned in my memory. It was a terrible tragedy indeed. We probably went on with our lessons that day, trying not to think of the tragedy, but it was all I could think about. When i got home from school, i finally saw the replay on television. A very sad day for the nation indeed.

From: Philip M.


I was in film school in florida filming the launch with my older brother who worked for a local television station. We were a good distance away but had a special hook up to the NASA mission control PA that the public usually does not hear. The launch looked normal at first. The sound of it rumbling my insides as it rocketed skyward is a feeling I will never forget. A glorious machine emitting such unimaginable power. Just as the feeling of relief and excitement of a successful launch swept over me, the shuttle's small smoke trail (which was pretty much all you could see at that time) turned into a giant orange fireball. It was the most unbelievable thing I have ever witnessed. I was almost sure that I was dreaming. "God no" I said to myself, as someone else yelled "I told you man! it's the SRB's!" most of the other personnel began scrambling away at that point, wanting to hasten themselves indoors to hear the news about what had actually happened, but I stood watching, filming, for a good 15 minutes, hoping to see a parachute or, something. The shock of the event would not let me leave. There had to be something that could be done, or was done, or something, we didn't see. Things like that just dont happen. But on that day. It did.

From: Shawn


I was in the sixth grade when this happened. Our teacher had taken us to the school library so we could see the launch on the libraries television. At first nobody understood what had happened until the reporters started getting information. Initially I recall, everybody thought that it was the normal solid booster separation then everyone realized that a tragedy had occurred. The rest of our day was very sad and silent and I remember going home in the afternoon and crying with my family. Back then, tragedies of this magnitude were felt by everyone. It shows how innocent we were. When the last shuttle exploded upon reentry it was sad but people did not react like when challenger exploded. Too many tragedies have occurred since 1986, so it seems as if people in general have become desensitized to catastrophes. I hope we go back to how it used to be. I miss the 80's!

From: Larry


I Was Working In The Or At M.d.anderson Hospital In Houston And Told All My Co-workers About Greg Jarvis Who I Watched Grow Up In Mohawk.we Were All So Proud Of Him. My Mother And His Mom Teal Had graduated From High School Together And Our Families Socialized Together. I Got A Break To Watch The Launch On Tv And Was Telling Everyone About Greg.when The Tragic Explosion Happened I Felt Like I'd Lost My Own Brother. The First Thing I Could Think Of Was His Wife And Mom And Dad.when I Finally Got Through To My Mother Back In Mohawk I Found Out She Had Watched The Launch On Tv With Gregs Mom Teal.needless To Say They Were In Complete Shock.i Kept In Touch With Mom And She Told Me Teal Said She Kept Hearing Gregs Voice Calling To Her.when They Finally Recovered Greg's Body,they Found Water In His Lungs,and There Was A Possiblity He And The Others In The Capsule May Haved Drowned.who Knows,maybe She Did Hear His Voice Trying To Say Goodbye. i Will Never Forget The Seven Hero's Who Perished That Day. god Bless Them All.

From: RON RECKEWEG


We had moved to the town a few miles south of Kennedy right after the very first shuttle launch and watched all the launches from the beach or school yard (except one which we were able to see from the gallery at Kennedy). In October of '85, we moved back up to Atlanta. My brother and I were at home (he was a senior, I was in 10th grade) because of a snow day. We were eating lunch and my dad called from work and told us to turn on the tv because there had been an accident at Canaveral. One of the things I thought about the most was all my friends who had probably watched it live in the school yard and what that must have been like. We used to watch the shuttle fly piggyback on the jet on its return from Edwards to Canaveral. Tragic.

From: Art


I was going to Boswell Elementary when we got the new about the Challenger. It shocked the whole school my teachers name was Mrs. McClain I could remember like it was yesterday the saddest moment ever. They will be truly missed and we loved them but God loved them best. God Bless The Families

From: My name is Dianne Gaskin BKA Dianne Cobb


I was in my 1st year at Jr. college. After a lunch break everyone came back talking about it. I also remember that day because a friend of mine came home from the hospital with her new baby. I went to see her and she was crying and watching the news. I also remember all the tacky jokes that went around. We were just kids really. We thought they were funny. I don't know how we could have laughed at those jokes. Just young and not very mature or maybe we laughed to keep from crying.

From: DONNA RICHEY


I wasn't born yet. My mom was in 5th grade. But I'm doing a report on the Challenger. I went to youtube.com to watch a video of it. When it ended...I was crying. WE will never forget those brave 7 who lost there lives. (my opinion is if we just waited until March when it's warmer...this would of NEVER happened!!!)

From: nicole


I was born 28 minutes before the Challenger exploded. So I can't rally say I have any memories of it. I was born Jan. 28 1986 10:11 CST. I'm not saying this to disrespect any one of the crew of the Challenger. I remember the Challenger every year in respect for the crew and their loved ones.

From: Adam Berteau


I was in third grade. I heard about what happened at school but I did not believe it. I remember on the bus ride home that day talking about it with my friends and telling everyone it was not true. I found out it was true when I got home and saw it on tv.

From: Skye Sanger


It was as if it was yesterday. I was only 12 at the time but the memories are still there. I remember going to school just waiting to watch the exciting event. As I sat there watching the television the space shuttle took off only about 1 minute into the liftoff I see an explosion of the space shuttle. It was unexpected all of the students, including mine, smiles turned into tears as we watched this horrific event. I remember praying every night for the crew families hoping that they could just rewind time so that they could tell the crew not to go.

From: Rupert Maloney


I was 8 and a half years old when The Challenger exploded. I heard a lot of talk about it. I didn't see it on TV because I was pretty much sheltered back then, but I read about it on Jet magazine about Michael Smith, the only African-American in the space shuttle. It was very heartbroken. I think I heard the kids joke about it. It was a sad moment at the time.

From: Nicole Little

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