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 fourth grade at Fairlawn elementry school in Akron, OH when the Challenger went up. I remember we took heard somthing over the p.a. system and we all had t.v's in our classes to watch the take off. I'm not sure what happened after it blew. I remember watching it fly, a fire ball and then looking at other students. We were stunned. My next clear memory is of looking at a statue of a Native American cut out of a tree with a chainsaw, and ruminating on life. To the crews of Challenger and Columbia: God Speed. Blue Skies

From: kyle baker

I was six years old when the Challenger exploded. At the time I was attending kindergarten at a Catholic school where we weren't allowed to leave the cafeteria until we had drunk all our milk, which I hated. Anyway, on this particular day, our principal Sister Jean came on the loudspeaker and said something about what had happened, but nobody could understand her message because the loudspeaker was all crackly. When we all asked the mean lunch aide Sister Mary Elise what she'd said, she replied, "She told all the kindergartners to be quiet and finish their milk." It wasn't until much later in the day that I found out what had really happened.

From: Alana Montoya

I had been tramping on a mountain near my home town and had stayed up there overnight in a hut with 3 friends. I distinctly remember turning on the news on TV about early afternoon after returning home, and footage was being aired. Recently I was visiting that home town with an old school friend and was recounting how this memory had stuck in my mind. Strangely, within about a minute of discussing it as we walked through a park in the town, I bumped into one of the people I had been tramping with, whom I not seen or been in contact with for about 16 or 17 years.

From: Dave Mellow

I was there watching it go up when I was about 6 years old. I remember seeing the Challenger go up then this bright light and this loud noise of it blowing up. My parents grabed me and my little sister and ran to the car. I didn't really know what had happened, just that the shuttle went up and lights like fireworks appered. I remember thinking that it was just like a magic show. it was there on moment then the next it was gone. a few years later I learned what happened and then everything made sence of those confusing memories. All I have to say is that my heart goes to all the families involed with the tragedy and those who have left this world for something better.

From: Jenn Storm

I was 6 and in kindergarten at the time. I lived in New Hampshire where the teacher was from and I remember they mentioned it over the intercom. We then turned on the TV and saw it in class. Several of my teachers had known the teacher who was killed and they were all crying. It is one of my strongest memories of the time.

From: Joe

I too, remember the Challenger accident like it was yesterday. I was in 7th grade at a school in New Smyrna Beach, FL (which isn't too far from Titusville). Our class went outside to watch the shuttle lift-off on our way to lunch. We had watched them before and knew as soon as we saw the white smoke, orange color, and separation that it wasn't "normal", that something didn't look right. When we reached the cafeteria, the lunchroom ladies told us it had exploded. We watched t.v. the rest of the afternoon in our library. I re-lived this event all over again with the Columbia accident. I now live in Orlando, FL and I took my dog out on the back porch so we could listen to the sonic boom as it entered our area. My husband and I had the t.v. on and it said, "Any second you should hear it coming." Seconds passed, and then minutes. My husband said "Something has happened," even before the news stated anything. We know how precise this is, and when it didn't come through the sky when it 'was supposed to' we knew something terrible had happened. I can't believe that I experienced this twice.

From: Amber

I was 2 months away from my 5th birthday, and I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up (like most young kids, I guess). When the Challenger launch took place, I was sitting on our living room floor in front of the TV (only about a foot away from the TV, much to my mom's disapproval) with my toy space shuttle. My mom was on the couch across the room, on the phone with her mother-in-law. I remember the explosion, but more than that I remember my mom screaming. She just dropped the phone and started screaming, crying...she ran to me and grabbed me. I put my space shuttle down -- I never wanted to be an astronaut again. I was so young, and there was so much to take in, but I understood someone that I had just seen one of the worst tragedies imaginable. The image of the explosion, set against the soundtrack of my mother's screams, is forever burned into my memory. I have never watched a shuttle launch on TV since the Challenger tragedy...I just can't put that memory aside long enough for it.

From: Whitney Gallien Hedges

I just wanted to say that I feel for all the families out there that had there family members die, but even though I wasn't alive when the Challenger exploded, I can tell it was tragic because of the way it effected history. God Bless Every one may God be with all thanks Alyssa

From: Alyssa Chambers

Am sure those who died for such a noble reason, something that will make humans' life better, will be rewarded.

From: Nalan

I don't remember that day clearly but I do remember that it was the saddest and one of the most horrible event that happened in my entire life. I was 8 going on 9 and I just sat there in front of the television weeping and praying for the lost ones. I remember everyone at school talking about it and I just sat there, thinking, not participating in any of the conversations, just thinking. I still pray for all those lost ones.

From: Ingrid*

I was in the sixth grade, just sitting down in my seat as Math class began. Our principal announced the sad news over the P.A. system and we all stood up to say prayers (Catholic School) and have a moment of silence for the souls who were lost. We later had a T.V. brought into class and watched the terrible footage in shocked silence. We were so must it have been for the families of the crew? Every generation has a number of events that define and change their views of the world. The Challenger tragedy served to remind us that no matter how technologically advanced we become...we are not immune to human mistakes.

From: Maire

I am a child of the 80's and of all the memories I have of that time, this one is imprinted in my mind. To this day I cannot remember what day it was exactly that the tragic event occurred and I've found that when I ask anybody else, neither can they. I do remember this much, it was going to be the first flight where a teacher was going to go up. The first teacher in space. It's all we talked about at Redan Elementary school. We were all going to watch it together at school that day. I remember being upset that I was sick and that I had to stay home. My older brother had to stay home with me and so he hated me for that. I was ten at the time and we lived in Lithonia Georgia. I remember going back and forth between the Top 20 countdown on BET and the music videos(when they were actually good)on MTV. My brother came running into the living room and demanded I change the channel so that we could watch the lift-off. I was sitting Indian style on the floor watching the tube like I was about to see God or something because I was so excited. The shuttle went up....and the next thing I knew, it exploded. I remember sitting there in shock with my mouth dropped open and all I could think was "Oh my God! Mrs. McAuliffe!" The teacher had died! I started crying and my brother automatically called my mom at work. She already knew. The nursing staff at Emory University had all witnessed it as well. The rest of that day is a blur to me. All I can remember is that all programming came to a halt, even MTV. Every channel kept showing the infamous "caterpillar" scene. That is how I described it then as a ten-year-old and it is how I still recall it now as a twenty-six-year-old. You know how a caterpillar has an extended body with two antennae sticking out? That is how I remember the explosion. These are things I remember from the 80's; 2086 Singer Way(my address), Duran Duran, Cindy Lauper, Culture Club, She-Ra, MTV, GI Joe(because I was a little tomboy), The Get-Along-Gang, "Karate Kid", "Space Camp", "Goonies", "Sixteen Candles", Alf, TAB, "E.T.", Kirk Cameron, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, "Star Wars", Cosby Show, but most of all I remember the Space Shuttle Challenger and Christa McAuliffe; the first teacher in space.

From: Nicole A. Garcia

My Grandma was there when it happened. I wasn't born yet till the next year but you always hear about it in school. I just remember my Grandma saying there was a teacher on there, and now we'll never have her as one again.

From: Ashley Olson

I was in my junior year of college at the University of Oklahoma and in Navy ROTC. I was presenting my meal card to the attendant at the cafeteria when I guy I knew broke the news. I just didn't quite know how to feel. After returning to my dorm room in Cross Center I saw the video, over and over and I evetually got pissed off at the news media showing the crowd reacting to the explosion. Did we need to see their grief exploited? The following week at "Drill" I was disappointed that nothing was mentioned of the accident, especially since the mission commander was a Naval officer.

From: Randall J

I was in Cocoa Beach, FL in kindergarten, and we all went outside to watch the shuttle launch, and after it blew up I distintly remember my slightly overweight teacher as saying "Wow, I've never seen it do that before." I'll never forget it.

From: Andrew Hudson

i was a first year student at the uiversity of stellenbosch in '86. the end of jan co-incided with our RAG parade and as part of preparing our float, we had to make a massive amount of paper mache. i got the job of tearing up hundreds of newspapers for this purpose. the (leftover) newspapers they got for this purpose was from the day after the challenger disaster and featured the well known picture of the big smoke cloud and the two trails streaming away. for two days i had to tear up old newspapers and everytime i picked one up, this picture would stare back at me. probably not the most prosaic memory of the challenger but it's mine and it's pretty vivid.

From: dave walters

I wasn't born yet, but I can remember my dad telling me that he was in boot camp for the navy in Orlando. He was getting some dental work done and heard it on the radio. He walked outside and could see the smoke cloud. Later my mom worked at a doctors office in Virginia and the doctors wife was real good friends with the teacher aboard Challenger.

From: Jason R

I was a freshmen in HS when the Challenger exploded. We were out of school that day due to snow. I was at my church when it happened, when I went home that morning was when I found out about it. When we returned to school one of our teachers had written a poem about the disaster-each member was named in the poem. Later on when we got our yearbooks, the poem was inside.

From: Russell

I would turn 12 later that year. I was in Math class, and our teacher decided to hand us over across the hall so that we could see it live on television. We were excited, so you can imagine the chatter that could be heard. I remember where I sat, and who sat behind me. As soon as that sucker took off, we "oohed" and "aahed" - but the moment it exploded in mid-air... not a single peep. We were stunned. We just couldn't believe it. A few students asked the teacher what had just happened, why did it happen? Were they dead? There was no question as we read the headlines the following day, seeing our president as he did his best to comfort family members. Most of us sat back and cried as it trailed down to the ocean. It's a day I'll never, ever forget. :(

From: Sam

I was born in 1981. I was 4, going on 5 when the Challenger exploded. I think I have very faint memories of it. My mom told me she was driving home from a grocery store when she heard it on the radio. My dad says that he was at work and heard about it on the radio. Some of those faint memories came back when I saw the Columbia come apart on re-entry. On the saturday that the Columbia was lost, I went to work. I first saw it on tv before work. At work tvs were set up that were showing it.

From: mitch

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