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 in 6th grade at the time. It was our lunch hour and about 5 minutes into lunch a 7th grade science teacher(she had applied 4 the teacher-in-space program) came into the lunchroom and announced what had happened and all became quiet instantly. I remember that I couldn't wait to get home to watch the news. This event is certaintly one of those that I will always remember.

From: Paresh

I remember there was snow on the ground. I was in kindergarten. It was early in the morning. And the teacher turned on the tv for us to watch something spectacualar. A teacher, someone just like her, was aboard. You could tell my teacher was proud. I was watching the "the pretty spaceship" on tv. Everyone was captivated waiting for the launch. Then about a minute later it exploded. Being about 5 or 6 years old, it didn't fully click in my head, what had happened. I couldn't even understand it, even though I watched it. The look on my teacher's face was devastating. She couldn't even explain what happened. That was my very first personal experience with diaster. I say personal because I was so young and watched every second of it on tv. That day will be forever etched in my mind.

From: megan

My only detention period in my school career in 7th grade. I was sitting in the library and the teachers had moved the TV into their office while they were eating lunch. We watched it go up and break apart. They jumped and started running to the phone and down the halls to tell everyone. Of course, it was very sad.

From: Linne` Player

To this day, I cannot think of the Challenger without getting tears in my eyes. I was a senior in high school at the time. We didn't have school that day, there was a snow cancellation, so I was home with my sister. Space shuttles were still so new and exciting to us, that we always watched the lift off of each Shuttle. I think the most vivid memory of the telecast was the changes in the expressions of those watching the lift off from Kennedy Space Center, there was a dark shadow of emotion and fear that passed over each face with the realization that something was very wrong. Since the tragedy, I have had the opportunity to visit the memorials at Kennedy Space Center and in Honolulu. Both were very moving experiences. I didn't watch the lift offs of the first shuttle after the tragedy, and I still hold my breath and pray at each shuttle lift off.

From: Jen

I was in 3rd grade when the Challenger exploded. I remember the entire school went out of class into a room with a few TV's in it so we could watch the launch. We were all so excited. The launch began, and a few seconds after that it happened. All of our hearts sank. still hurts to think about how we all felt that day.

From: Bryan

My memory of this tragic moment is still clear as ever. I was sitting in my English period in 4th grade at Sacred Hearts School. I, like most 4th graders, was oblivious to what the teacher was saying. She apparently heard the news and turned around to turn on the TV perched up high in a corner of the room. There, we witnessed the CNN news anchor speaking in a solemn voice, saying that the Challenger space shuttle had exploded. The room, filled with 30 or so vigorous children, became hauntily silent. Or perhaps the drop silence was from my shock and sadness. I felt oddly saddened by images portrayed on television of the astrosnauts, people who I did not know. Learning that a school teacher was on board and Ellison Onizuka, a native of Hawaii, was one of the astronauts, made the event even more tragic. The memory of this sad day will forever be etched in my mind along with millions of others who shared witnessed man's tragic limitations. May the memory of those on board and their families live on forever.

From: Son Vu-Tran

I was in a Sophomore Biology class the day Challenger exploded. I will never forget it. It was the first time we were allowed to watch an event as it actually happened while in class. Our class was made up of mostly Juniors and there were only about 10 Sophomores in the room. So alot of our time was spent trying to hit on the Junior guys. Only a few of us were actually paying attention to the t.v. All of a sudden during all the talking and people having papers graded by our teacher, there was a silence that went from the back of the room (where the t.v was sitting) to the front where our teacher was standing. It was like a movie, our teacher ran to the television and turned the volume up and that is when we heard the devestating news. I have only felt that close to the nation once since then and that was during the Gulf War and I was a recently discharged veteran then. I hope nothing like that ever happens again.

From: L. Cooper

I was at work when I heard about that "infamous" explosion. My sister-in-law delivered her third child that day and almost died on the delivery table. He was born on a day that I will never forget. Every year on his birthday I think of the shuttle Challenger and the great hopes that we all had for a successful mission. I live 45 minutes from the city of Akron, Ohio where Judith Resnick was born. They didn't even have a chance. The film clip tells it all. Peace to all who reads this...We must never forget their valiant efforts!

From: Ann

I was in the fourth grade at the time. My father worked for Morton Thiokol but had quit six months earlier because the management thought they were smarter than everyone else. We sat as a family and watched the footage over and over again on the news. It was tragic but we were happy that my father worked for a better company.

From: Sylvia

I was a senior in High School when the shuttle blew up. It really took it's toll on our school because a teacher we had was in the #2 slot behind Christa. The teacher was watching the liftoff during class, and when it blew, she lost it. It was a very sad day.

From: Someone

I was a senor in high school when this horror happened. At the time they made big events about watching space shuttle landings in school. I guess because it was so "new" being televised. Anyway, I was in Political Science class, and it was also on everyones television in every classroom. I remember hearing a scream from another classroom, but my class was just silent, in a state of shock I think. I remember turning around looking at my teacher, and he had his hands over his face. Very emotional day.

From: Kim Boyer Class of 1986

This subject always hits close to home for me. The reason is I grew up in a town in Florida called Merritt Island. If you don't know where Merritt Island is lets just say I could get to the space center in 5 minutes from my front door. It was a really nice day, very blue sky, warm (but hey it's Florida). I was a senior in high school and it was 4th period. It was always customary for the principal to come over the PA and announce a shuttle take off and if we wanted we could go outside and watch. By this time we had all seen so many that most just chose to stay inside and basically goof off the period. I was in Yearbook class and I, like many others, opted to stay inside. I had my walkman with me so I put on the headphones and was listening to Nick Kershaw's, "Wouldn't it be good." Everything was going as normal until.... Friends came running back into class saying that the shuttle blew up! My first reaction was, "Yeah right tell another story" but then all this commotion started brewing outside so I decided to get up and see what was happening. I got outside and looked up and immediately my heart dropped into my stomach. The pattern of the smoke was a tell tale sign that something was not right. Let me explain something that may not make sense. Being that our high school was so close to the Space Center we had seen many shuttle launches. We knew what one looked like and that were actually cool to watch. The trail of smoke behind it just goes straight up in the air behind the shuttle. This time it wasn't so. The trail of smoke made a big diamond pattern in the sky. My history teacher had a tv in her classroom and everyone huddled around it to find out what had happened. We knew something was wrong but we didn't expect the news that was received. Everyone was teary eyed and this incredible hush fell over the school. This is high school folks and it was lunch period can you imagine an entire lunch room silent. Well that is pretty much my recollection of that day. To this day I still can't watch the footage of it because it is really a painful thing to remember and I actually will go into a full cry when if I do catch glimpses of it. I don't know if it effected the rest of you like this but it effected me big time. Maybe it was because we were so close to what was happening. In our Yearbook that year we had a dedication page to the crew of the Shuttle. We figured it was the least we could do for them.

From: Dan Nero

I was only six when this happened. I was home with my two younger brothers and my mom had the TV on cause this was like a big deal. (We never got to watch TV when I was little so we were glued to the set. I remember the news people interviewed the woman who was going on the flight. It was her first flight and she was so excited. I watched her and felt inspired to dream big. When the shuttle blew up I was shocked. I remember my mom just standing and staring at the TV and that sort of scared me. My little brothers didn't seem to care much and they went of to play. I couldn't believe that the lady had died!! I spent the rest of the day watching the shuttle blow up over and over again on the news. Everytime was just as bad as the first, and that night I went to bed filled with questions and crying. The lady's dream had killed her!

From: Laura Gavel

I was a sophomore at Rainier High School in Rainier, WA., which is just about as far away from Florida as you can be. I was on my way to school, but before I left home I wanted to see the Challenger launch live on t.v. I was just about to leave when it exploded. I was stunned. I went to school (which did not have television) and nobody knew about it. I was asked to repeat the story about 100 times, but it could never be the same as seeing it live.

From: C. Willmarth

I was Six years old and I guess I was at school when it happened. I didn't know anything until I got home and turned on the T.V. to watch cartoons. Instead, all I saw was the replay of that tragic moment. I remember watching the news with my family and my dad saying,"What an awful way to get to Heaven".

From: Shannon Forrest

I was in the hospital in Germany having my daughter. I remember waking up and hearing about the space shuttle blowing up. It didn't impact me at the time because I had just delivered her. I was stationed at a military base and it didn't seem to affect us as bad over there. No one really talked about it. I just recall it every year because of my daughter's birth.

From: Vickye Arnold

I was eleven when the "Challenger" blew up. I grew up in Orlando and I was at school when it happened. The entire school was outside and this boy next to me had binoculars. I will never forget the disbelief in everbody's faces. The footage of the explosion is a very haunting image for me because I actually witnessed the event. All of the teacher's rushed us inside. It was as though they didn't believe what had happened themselves. For the rest of the day we all sat at our desks w/the news playing in the background. I will never forget the horrifying image of the "Challenger" in it's demise.

From: Hollie Walsh

I remember that day in 1986, watching the countdown to Challenger's launch in a school assembly with 400 other students and teachers. My second grade class had spent weeks studying space and charting the history of NASA. Christa McAuliffe was a hero, a teacher like the one who taught my science class, an ordinary American ready to realize a dream. I remember cheering, watching the split screen show of lift-off and Christa's class observing the launch. Then I remember white smoke, a teacher screamed and students began to cry. Someone shut off the television quickly and everyone sat there until a teacher turned the tv back on. They showed the explosion again and again. For the rest of the day people cried and we all sort of sat there doing nothing, some kids went home. That night I watched Ronald Reagan's speech with my parents and remembered thinking about his words "as they slipped out of reach to touch the face of God." What simple truth. Later that month my school dedicated the lobby to the heroes, our "Challenger 7", and to this day a huge portrait reminds students, parents, and teachers of those innocent victims of fate who captivated a nation and left us all reeling.

From: Ryan Loskarn

I was a sophomore in high school in Brookline, Massachusetts. When the shuttle took off, I was actually taking a geometry/trigonometry final in class. I remember that my math teacher was not well liked. Half way through the final, the teacher walked into the class and announced, "The Space Shuttle just blew up." Then he left. What the hell? We were stunned. We didn't know if he was serious, or what. And we had to just sit in that room and continue to take the exam. It seems that they let out school after that, and some friends and I went to a restaurant where we could watch TV. The endlessly repeated showings of the explosion and those second graders watching were numbing.

From: KM

This is my most vivid memory of the 80's. The challenger explossion ~ I was 22 at the time. This was the first time I had been seriously following the space program and had taken a sincere interest in it. I remember being disapointed each day they had to postpone for various reasons. I was filled with such excitment the day of that launch. I listened to the radio in my car and literally ran into my office so I wouldn't miss anything. I was sitting at my desk listening, {we did not have a TV at the office} and the Dj became really emotional, and screamed that the challenger had exploded. I was stunned, I just sat there for a second until it hit me, then I just lost it and began sobbing. My sister happened in the door right about that time and when I told her she too began to cry. It was a sad sad time. But what I remember most about that day was at lunch time, I went to a cafe where they were playing it over and over agian on a big wide screen TV, all the people were sitting huddled together, all of us, different types of people, from different walks of life, different cultures, all grieving together. I will never forget this.

From: Nancy Kelly-Griffith

Previous List or Next List

This is one page of many, check out the intro at I Remember Challenger.

Would You Like To Add Your Memories?

Got an idea for a page we don't have yet?

Submit your memories