Friday, January 28, 2011

Remembering the Challenger Disaster

photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
I was doing my spelling.

I remember that clearly to this day. I can even see the spelling workbook. Despite years of rearranging and sitting in all sorts of places, facing all different directions in that one-room school I attended,  I remember specifically where my desk was that day.  I remember that the phone rang out in the coat hall and the teacher went out to answer it. A moment later, she rushed back in, saying "The space shuttle blew up!" I don't think that really made much sense until she turned on the tv. We could only get one or two channels on the antenna (no cable service for a tiny school house miles from town) but it didn't matter. In those  days before CNN was ubiquitous, every channel had turned to coverage of the tragedy.

I don't remember crying at school. I mostly remember shock that morning. I know I cried later. I think it was a long time before I could think of that day without a tear.

Space flight seemed like such a "given" until then. It was something the adults had all figured out and it would only be easier by the time I was an adult, I thought. The Challenger explosion cast doubt on that for the first time for me.

I still hold my breath every time I hear "throttle up."