Memories of the Challenger

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

I'll never forget that day as long as I live. I was in the 11th grade at Conway High School, Conway S.C. about 45 min. from Ron Mcnair's home. When I saw that explosion I felt like someone really close to me had just died right before my eyes. Ron was a hero to alot of us. When I think about his family I hurt for them on that day, I still hurt for them.

From: alisa lipscomb

I was in the 5th grade when the Challenger exploded. Our teacher took us to the playground to watch the shuttle go up. I remeber that this particular launch was a big deal because of the teacher on board. When the shuttle exploded all I could do was ask questions. I didn't even realize what had happened. In fact not many of us out there that day knew what had happened, until our teacher took us back to class and explained to us what we had just seen.

From: Jerry

The accident of the Challenger was horrible. One of my teachers qualifed to be on the rocket, thank god she didn't.

From: Tim Doyle

This was a day that I will never forget~ I was in 9th grade and was feeling ill that day so I went the office and I was sent home. I got a blanket and laid down on the couch. Our maid was working that day and she sat down with me to watch the history in making. We both were so excited, and then it happend. At first I did not understand it, but it didn't take to long till we figured it out. I was numb for days and was deeply touched by seeing it live. It was my first reality that the world has disasters. I grew up that day.

From: Erica

I remember the day as if were yesterday. Our first born was seven months old. It was late morning, and she was getting ready to take a nap. Even at that early age I had developed the habit of reading to her before she went to bed. We were sitting on the sofa, and the TV was on very low in the background. As I begin to read, I looked up and saw the count down taking place. I stopped reading, sat my daughter up and told her to watch the TV, that she was watching history. Explaining to her it was the first civilian ever to go up into space. (Not that she understood any of this at the age of seven months. But it made me feel good as a parent!) As we sat there the take off happened. The TV announcer continued to give a detail by detail as to what was happening. But before he made note of any problem, there appeared this big puff of smoke. Then all of a sudden, he says is there a problem? Oh my God the shuttle has exploded. I couldn't believe my suspicions were being confirmed. There was this empty feeling that came over me. I felt so alone, and felt a heavy burden. I felt I had to talk to someone. I called my friend - Nancy. I ask her did she have on her TV. She turned it on. We sat there together on the phone, just watching, and rewatching the replays. Ten years later, my daughter, Katie-Lynn and I had the opportunity to take a school trip to Washington, DC. We visited the grave sites of the crew. It was as if we had finally gone full circle. It was a very emotional experience. I never let an opportunity go by without reminding my daughter of this tragety.

From: Peggy T.

I worked at the Police Department here. We all watched as these very intelligent and brave people headed up. When the explosion happened, I felt that the entire world stood still. Being exposed to people being violated by the criminal element so often, it was just heart breaking to see them lose their lives due to a mechanical glitch in the blink of an eye. They, their families and the entire world of NASA were and probably still are in many, many people's prayers. I would never have guts to do what they do, but the thought of space flight is so exciting, and my hat is off to them all.

From: Debbie

I remember when the challenger exploded. I was watching tv with my mom when it happened. Devastating!! This was a very important event in history.

From: Mike Peil

I had just learned that I was pregnant with my first child when I turned on the TV and watched the Challenger take off and explode. It was a time of great joy and saddness for me. A new life was beginning in the mist of lives ending. It was a very powerful experience for me. I will never forget that day. My daughter is now 13 years old and I have mentioned Challenger to her but I feel that she will never get the full impact of that day until she is older if ever. But I will always remember.

From: Shawn

I remember the feeling of utter shock and deep loss that I felt and that those around me felt. Late in the afternoon, I left the house for the first time that day. I tried to run some errands and everywhere I went I saw people walking around and functioning like zombies. Those who were out were just "going through the motions" with a glazed look and feeling like it totally could not...did not happen! Again, it was one of those events that unified all of us...not just the nation, but the world, in a sense of loss, very much like Nov. 1963 and the death of Princess Diana.

From: Corina

I was five years old and in kindergarten. I don't remember the exact moment of the explosion, I don't think there was a tv in the room. I do remember the announcment that the Challenger had blown up over the PA system. My teacher tried to explain it the best she could. When my mother came to pick me up after school (we were probably let out early)she was with my grandmother. I can still to this day remember exactly where she was parked. I pulled the car door open and jumped into the backseat headfirst. I screamed to them "Did you hear about the space snuttle?" I had a hearing problem and heard shuttle as snuttle. I am 19 now and a sophomore in college. Even though it will be 14 years ago in just two days, it seems like it was only yesterday. I had wanted to be an astronaut, Sally Ride was my hero, but the explosion changed all that. When I was in sixth grade I visited Kennedy Space Center. I took a picture of the memorial, bought a picture of the crew, a patch, and a coin. It was surreal finally being where that horrible tradgedy was. The Challenger is the first of unfortunately many tragic occurences that I can remember exactly where I was.

From: Monica S

I was in the third grade at Plain Elementary in Simpsonville, SC. It was snowing, and we were out of school because of the weather. I remember dancing around the living room in my nightgown because I was so happy I didn't have to go to school. My dad kept telling me to be quiet, so he could watch the broadcast of the Challenger. I didn't shut up, until I glanced at the TV and saw this giant ball of fire. I didn't understand what had happened. I kept asking my dad, "Was that supposed to happen?" He said no, and all I could do was keep asking why, why did it happen. Did those people die right there on TV while I was watching. It was very traumatic for me. It still touches me when I think about it.

From: Jill

I was in 9th grade at the time. I remember going into one of my classes (I really don't remember which one) and hearing a few people muttering something about the space shuttle, but I just figured they were talking about the flight. Then our teacher announced that the shuttle had exploded. It didn't really affect me right then, because he said it so matter-of-factly that it didn't seem that it could possibly be true. I didn't see the actual tape until I got home from school that day and they were playing it on the news. When I finally saw the actual explosion I just sat there, dumbfounded. Even after seeing it with my own eyes, it still didn't seem real.

From: Becky

I was always fascinated by space travel as a child in the '70's and a teenager in the '80's. I remember clearly being taken, with the rest of the class, into the school TV room one beautiful afternoon in 1981 to watch the first Shuttle launch. I was in awe of this spectacle, and keenly followed every subsequent mission. The day of the Challenger disaster was bitterly cold in England. I had finished school for the day and was getting ready to go to my evening job (it was about 5:15 pm UK time), whilst listening to a live commentary on the radio. The DJ, Steve Wright, described a seemingly normal launch and talked his way through the opening seconds. Just as he went to play a record, he suddenly described an explosion which had appeared to destroy Challenger. I ran downstairs to the TV and just caught the aftermath of the accident, followed by numerous replays. I didn't go to work that night.

From: paul gibson

I was a junior in high school in Victoria, Texas when the Challenger exploded. On that particular day, I was at home in bed with the flu. I was watching the shuttle launch and saw the explosion on TV. I was absolutely shocked. I tried to call my mother at work, but she was in meetings all day and couldn't be reached, and of course all my friends were in school, so I didn't have anyone to talk to about what had happened. I remember feeling very small and alone, and terribly frightened and sad. Worst of all was that such an inspirational woman as Christa McAuliffe died along with the crew -- she was so happy and enthusiastic about learning and teaching. That to me was the most tragic part and has stayed with me for all these years.

From: Stephanie

11 years old - being driven home from the dentist after having had two teeth removed for braces. Cheek stuffed with cotton wool, still groggy from the anasthetic. Radio newsflash - Challenger has exploded 1 minute after lift-off. Utter confusion and incomprehension. Turning to Dad, "but what happened to the astronauts?" My Dad shaking his head and muttering brokenly "I don't know, I just don't know" Everyone in Australia was just as deeply shocked as America

From: Kirstie

In 1986, I was in fourth grade in Southern Kentucky. My mom was a teacher in the same school I attended. We were out for snow on January 28. I remember playing in my room that morning, still in my pajamas, when my mom called me into the living room to watch the Challenger take off. We were sitting in the floor in front of the TV. I thought it was the most exciting moment of my life. When the shuttle exploded, I was in shock. I watched it over and over and still could not believe what I saw. I still don't. This was definitely a defining moment in my life.

From: Laura

I was a senior at Moon Valley H.S. in Phoenix, Arizona. My English teacher sent half of the class to the library to do research for something or other. Every classroom in the school was watching the liftoff on TV. Suddenly this kid runs into the library and shouts out the horrible news. I remember him getting chewed out for "breaking the silence" of the library, but when the TVs were turned on and it was confirmed, everyone was shocked. Truly one of the defining tragedies of the 80's. Many of the students at school had become space exploration followers over the last few years.

From: Kerry Vinson

10th grade. It was a "snow day" in Atlanta (which means there was a 1/2" on the ground). My sister and I had just walked back from the video store, anxious to watch our selections, "Love at First Bite" and "Godzilla 1985," when we saw it on ABC news. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I damn near broke my leg, getting to the phone to call my mother. Ready for this? Her watch had stopped right when the disaster took place! I remember how stunned everybody was at school the next day. "It was the Lybians," some genius assured us. Nope. It was just the beginning of the end of innocence for the MTV generation.

From: Christopher M. Terry

I was in my 10th grade p.e. class when we were told over the loud speaker that the space shuttle had just blown up. I remember feeling so sad, I also recall all of us sitting on the floor in our gym crying and talking about how bad we all felt for their families. If I remember nothing else from the 80's I will always remember when this happened to the shuttle....and those people........

From: angie

I was in fifth grade at E.A. Jones Elementary School here in Houston, Texas. Mrs. Plemmons turned the television on so that we could all watch the Challenger take off. I remember our faces as the count down started & we all sat there & hung on every second. It was the most horrible vision that I had ever seen at that point in my life. A ten year old watching the coolest thing in the world explode before her eyes. I still get goose bumps even thinking about it & how the crew's families must have felt & still feel today. I am now a senior education major at the University of Houston. May we always treasure the memory of the Challenger crew within our hearts & minds.

From: April

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