Saturday, January 28, 2006

January 28, 1986

I was just getting out of bed, because at the time, I worked the evening show on a station about 80 miles from where I lived. I turned on the television just in time to hear them break in with a special report.


The challenger was gone. I watched the faces of the families, who were gathered to view the liftoff. It was eerie, because none of them seemed to know what was going on... or at least, they were trying to believe that what they were seeing was "normal" and, somehow, the shuttle would eventually break through the huge cloud of smoke and continue it's ascent.

"They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us...

"And I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them....

"The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."
President Ronald Reagan

13 comments:

Pandora said...

I wonder if this happens for each generation . . . the I remember where I was when. For my mother it was President Kennedy's assassination. For me, it was the Challenger distaster - I was in High School and they were letting us listen to the commentary over the loud speaker when it happened. For my daughter, it was the bombing of the Twin Towers - they of course had TVs in the classroom at that point. Sadly, we have these moments ingrained on our souls, but perhaps it will remind us to find pleasure in each day that we have.

Mishka said...

I remember we were watching that at my school too...everyone was so excited because it was the first teacher to go up....

~The Goofy Ass Chick said...

I was in 3rd grade and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Reagan had great speechwriters. But that takes nothing away from the little talk. It was in supreme good taste.

Spinning Girl said...

High Flight
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Jasmine said...

Really was tragic and burned in my memory.

Have a good weekend Dave!

Jasmine

Kylee said...

It was a big day...a teacher going up with them....we were watching at school..I will never forget it either.

Chris Johnson said...

I was watching it live in class at school they had to cancel school for the rest of the day. I will never forget.

Weary Hag said...

The question "Where were you when ..." always makes me wonder if perhaps a small bit of each of us wasn't right there with them. Whether it was Kennedy's assassination, the Challenger tragedy, 9/11 ... It would be kind of nice to think they all took a smidgeon of us with them ... for them ~ so that they didn't go alone, for us ~ it's what makes us human - we truly 'hurt' ... a teensy piece of something inside us dies, yet builds character at the same time.

Nice post, as always, Dave.

Amandarama said...

I remember hearing about it as I was coming home from my first batch of midterms at the high school. The weird thing was that on my way in that morning I has the strangest feeling something was going to go wrong with the flight. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well that night.

One of the teachers at our middle school was a runner-up to go on the flight. I can only imagine how he felt when it happened.

paula said...

I think I was in 3rd grade when this happened. I still remember it though. My grandparents lived the winters in Florida at the time and used to watch the lift offs from their house. They actually saw this happen. Pretty chilling.

Bob2837465 said...

I was in kindergarten and I remember it vividly. The principal came over the PA system and announced what had happened. I didn't really understand how it affected me, other than the teacher made all of us put our heads down on our desk and she turned out the lights. We stayed silent for several minutes, which is hard for a five year old. Over time, I realized the tragedy that had occurred. So sad...

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I remember it, too. I was in Freshman English. The PA system fired up and told us.

The big joke at the time was "No, I said BUD Light."

Tasteless!