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 7 all i saw was smoke it was so tragic.

From: zoe


Yes I remember Challenger among others, I remember the dignity and emotion I would have gone through. And yes, there would be no emotion because it would be an easy duty to die with dignity or alternatively none at all and have an uncontrolled disaster, what would you choose.

From: matt


I was only five when the challenger disaster happened. I remember we were all sitting at our desk in kindergarten probably coloring or doing some other busy work. We weren't watching television at the time but I guess some of the older kids were. I just remember one of the other teachers coming into the classroom sobbing and delivered the grim news to our teacher. They tried not to let us know but we could tell something was terribly wrong.

From: Tim


I was 3 years old when it happened, and I remember the footage on TV and how it haunted me so. I remember one of the scenes was that of smoke that was shaped in the form of a "bunny-rabbit" (head and ears of the rabbit) and as a child of that age, that was my take on it, but it was very scary to me. I would go to sleep at night in the days following, thinking about those scary images. You'd think a child of that age would not remember, but I remembered it as if I was a teenager when It happened. It was the first "tragedy" I remembered in my life.

From: amber rose


I was in the second grade. We were all watching it on TV in school; after all, a teacher was being sent into space. When it exploded, my expression was the same as when I saw the plane crashing into Tower Two on 9/11, over 15 years later: "Is this for real...?"

From: Charles


i wasnt born when the chhallenger went up to space but if christa mcauliffe didnt go up my third grade teacher Marcia Burnett would have and she was the absolute sweetest ladie i have ever met in my life my mom and my class loved her soo much we tryed to get her on the news!!!

From: sydney


i wasnt born yet but when i was in 6th grade i went to the challenger school where they have a little space station duplicate and you actually do everything real astronauts and control do. It was really fun. one of the astonauts from challenger was from hawaii which is why they have the challenger school here in hawaii. otherwise i dont think i would have gotten to go.

From: erin


I remember I was in 2nd grade when this happened but I remember it so vividly. My teacher Mrs. Dixon had my whole class watch the liftoff on TV and we were all excited because this was our first time ever seeing a space shuttle take off into outer space. I don't think any of us fully understood what we were seeing when the shuttle just burned up in the air. My teacher just turned the TV off. She didn't want us to see any more. On a subconscious level I think we must have understood it because as I recall we were pretty somber and quiet the rest of the day. Little did we know we had just lived through one of the most tragic events in history. God bless all the members of the shuttle who died that day. They will not be forgotten.

From: Brian Crump


On January 28th, 1986, I was 27 years old. I was a budding female leader of the future, a graduate of the University of Florida, and a force to be reckoned with amongst the old school male dominated workforce. I was working on the proposal team for the Payload Ground Operations Contract, and was at an offsite facility in Cocoa Beach, FL. when the Shuttle launched that very cold January morning. I distinctly remember that I was wearing wool pants, a shirt, and a wool sweater over the shirt, as it was that cold. I am originally from Woodstock, N.Y., and do not recall such a cold day in Florida since I moved here in 1971. At any rate, I went outside to watch the launch, and it quickly became clear to me that there was a significant problem. Over and over the TV played the explosion. I sat there numb for what seemed like hours. I could not comprehend that our program had just lost our precious astronauts. I cried, I sobbed, I asked for rationale. My mentor then, described the horror he had experienced in the Apollo mission where the astronauts died on the pad. He watched as their pulse went to zero. He tried to explain the danger and the sacrifice that each astronaut faces. I still couldn't stop crying. And then again in February of 2003, another major tragedy. I was in a real estate class when one of the students came in and said that the Shuttle had exploded during re-entry. Never in my wildest dreams had I though that would be an issue. And there I was almost 20 years later, crying again for the loss of life that will forever stand out as our heroes. I have a message for Pat Loegering, a previous respondent. Please contact me. You were there during Challenger, not Columbia. But, if you read this, please contact me at: wendym-h@cfl.rr.com. Peace be with us all as we move forward. Wendy

From: Wendy Mizerek-Herrburger (Digulla)


I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at UW-P sitting in an alcove near the library pretending to study, but really grappling with my future. How can I continue down this path to a promising career in a high-growth industry that I hate with a passion? It was cold in Wisconsin, but sunny, one of those odd days that looks like summer, but would kill you if you went outside unprotected. I had sat in the big chairs along the south-exposed windows, and I remember how warm the sunshine felt. I had forgotten about the launch; hell, they shot those things off all the time, it was no big deal; a lot of fire and smoke and then it was gone - so what, I real problems to deal with. Little by little, small waves of people would walk down the long corridor from the student union where the launch had been displayed on a large projection screen. Many were excited, many were sullen, many where silent. I was strangely uncomfortable with their wide range of emotions; I was used to young people being happy all the time, after all, this was the '80's, no teen angst BS here. A girl I knew approached me and told me what she had witnessed. I remember the juxtaposition - that message of death and destruction coming from her innocent mouth. This girl, with her life just beginning, telling me of the horrors of souls lost. I remember sitting there thinking about those poor folks, their families and friends, and about how much of a stain this would leave on the fabric of our nation; a national embarrassment. I could imagine others saying, "Those Americans, always thinking they know everything, flaunting God's power as if it were their own" - I could see the headlines now. Then I had an epiphany - - screw the tech program - life's short, do something you love... EPILOG I didn't know it then, but years later, Laurel Clark, a woman from my hometown just miles from where I sat that day, would perish over the skies of Texas aboard the doomed Columbia. RIP those who follow their passions...

From: quartrun


I was 45 years old and had recently returned from Pa. here I had taken care of my Dad who was suffering from cancer and had died the previous July. I was in the midst of a call to where I used to work hoping they could hire me again. All of a sudden John said" I will have to call you back, turn on your TV". I was crushed to see that the Challenger had exploded. I recall now that the only thing that helped me through the next couple of days was the thought they had died immediately. Imagine my tears when I later read that all oxygen bottles were empty when they found them at the bottom of the ocean. They had not died immediately after all. That still haunts me all these years later.

From: Jane wheeler


I remember that cold January day, the sky was a beautiful blue. As we watched the the screens, the astronauts looked happy, smiling and waving at all of the people. And I wish them a safe trip. I will always remember them as I remember Virgil Srissom, Roger Chaffe, and Ed White, as well as the crew of Columbia. When I think of all they gave, much love. Thanks

From: brenda


I was 24 years old & it was my 1st day training for a courier job running mail between the military bases on the island of O'ahu. I was in the security office at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Base at 8:00 am & saw these Marines crying over this tragedy that just occurred in space. It was incredible the amount of emotion, especially since the first Japanese American Astronaut, Ellison Onizuka, from the island of Hawai'i was on that flight. One of Hawai'i's very own son along with all the other crew members will always be remembered. God Bless them.

From: Phyllis M. Aki


As a 35-year old music/art teacher in the Dallas area, I had submitted the application form to be on the shuttle. I made it to the next stage of application but stopped to think about who would take care of my 9-year old son if anything happened to me. His father and I had divorced 3 years before and he had relocated to San Diego. Of course, I was shocked and saddened by the event---stopping in the grocery store parking lot to have a real cry when the classical radio station started playing Barber's "Adagio for Strings". I always think of Christa when I hear that music. Our Space Pioneers will always be remembered.

From: Sara


I had surgery on my knee about a month before, and was getting ready to go to physical therapy. I sat down with my breakfast, turned on the tv, and watched the last few moments counting down to liftoff. I had never missed a launch before. The very first launch I watched from my hospital bed from another surgery. And I remember begging teachers to let us watch when a launch was during a class, which they would always would. After another beautiful liftoff, just a few seconds later, the shuttle exploded. I just sat there in stunned silence. My friend, who had come over to take me to my appointment, walked in and saw the stunned look on my face, as I told her, "I think the shuttle just blew up." We never left the house that day, just sat and watched the news reports, and cried.

From: Marie


I remember very well that day. I worked for Motorola at the time, and was off that day because I had the flu. I was watching CNN, and they were talking about the launch and Christa McAuliffe being the first civilian to go to space. I put a tape in the VCR about a half hour before the launch. I was watching and taping the whole launch and subsequent disaster as it happened. I thought it didn't look right when the explosion occurred. I kept the tape recording for nearly 3 hours afterward. I cut the tape off when CNN started covering other stories. I also taped President Reagan's address to the nation on the disaster later that night. I still own this tape, and have replayed it several times since then, and have even had offers to sell it. However, it is not for sale. I know the Challenger crew are in the care of the Lord. I hope they will never be forgotten. I know I will never forget.

From: Jan Griffiths


My Mom and I--yes,that's correct--were eating lunch at a table where we were BOTH going to college, along with some other "older" students at the time. Someone came over to our table and told us. I went and watched it on the small TV in the lounge area. I didn't really feel like going to my 1 p.m., but knew I had no choice. A sad, sad day. My Mom and I were freshmen.

From: Matt


On this day, I was at my desk and we were watching a small portable television when the tragedy occurred. Seconds after, I felt as if I received a telepathic message from Christa; the message was "but we're not dead yet" but it was reported that they died instantly. It was a chilling experience which followed me for years. Years later I read and article in the new paper which confirmed that the astronauts had not died instantly.

From: Maria


I was in college, living in the dorm. I was getting ready for my first class of the day, the radio was on as was the normal and Glenn Frey's "You Belong To The City" was playing. They interrupted the song with a special news report, the Challenger had exploded in space. I told my roommate, that's the one with the teacher on it. We turned the tv on and there the news was, replaying what had happened. I couldn't believe it. I sat there numb, watching the scene over and over again. I ditched the class and went to the lounge where guys were gathered around the tv watching, nobody saying a word. The whole day seemed surreal as we sat there hoping maybe the astronauts would be found alive in their escape pod. When word finally did come that the astronauts had indeed perished, somebody just turned the tv off and we all went our separate ways. Seems like yesterday.

From: Mark


I was ten years old when it happened, and I remember my dream was to become an astronaut. For some reason, they didn't make any mention of the accident at all in school, I guess maybe not to upset the kids. When I came home that day, I found that my dad had come home early from work, and he asked me, "so you know that the Challenger exploded?" It was such a tragedy that the nation wouldn't stop talking about for probably a year afterwards, especially given how such a big deal it was the Christa mcAuliffe was the first teacher to go in space. People actually cared about the space program back then.

From: Crojj

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