Challenger Observed

by Ryan on January 28, 2006

in Anything Else

I wanted to take this occasion to observe the 20th anniversary of a sad day for the United States. I remember where I was on January 28, 1986, when I heard about the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. I was taking the bus home from school when people started talking about a teacher who was killed that day. As you can imagine: 4th grade + public school + bus can only equal some very insensitive jokes and thoughts about which teachers we would like to see go into space in the same manner.

Of course, I did not really understand the gravity of what happened until I got home. I noticed my mother and grandmother very sad, glued to the TV. That was when I started to figure out that this was big– a tragedy, in fact, since it was unusual to see my mom and memere that disturbed by the news.

During a memorial ceremony later that day, I distinctly remember President Ronald Reagan consoling the families and friends of the fallen astronauts, as well as the nation who shared a collective grief. I really connected with President Reagan– he was always a grandfather figure to me. In that fitting tribure, President Reagan delivered such a poignant line from an old poem describing how those seven astronauts “slipped the surly bonds of Earth” to “touch the face of God.” It was powerful. That day was impactful, not just on the space program or the Cold War, but also on me. Whenever I see footage from that day or Reagan’s speech I get a little sad and sentimental and a little solemn too.

Twenty years later, here at the “Axis of Right” we pay tribute to those fallen heroes.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cannon January 29, 2006 at 11:02 am

The Challenger disaster is one of the earliest memories I have. I was only 4 at the time, and I went to pre-school in the mornings. I was home that afternoon, watching TV, with my mother folding laundry in the same room.

As I remember it, shuttle flights were still a pretty big deal, so the news would cut away to cover the launch. Of course, we know how this one ended. At the time, I was too young to know what exactly happened, but I knew something was wrong.

Even though I was only 4, the image of that afternoon is still vivid in my memory


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