Memories of the Challenger

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This page currently edited by: Dagwood. Past editor: Junior

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was in the 7th grade sitting in my cooking class. It was announced over the PA and my teacher paused and started to cry. All that day, me and my friends were just in a blur and I came home and saw the news. I cried and cried because I watched the teacher every step of the way and was so excited for her. I even remember seeing her parents reaction when it exploded on the television.

From: Denise

I am a female firefighter. I was the first female in the Dallas Fire Rescue Department and I identified with Christina in that she was also a first. I remember thinking that if I had got the chance she did, I would have seized the opportunity too. I watch from the kitchen at fire station #3 in Dallas, Texas has challenger lifted off and within a little more than a minute exploded. I remember thinking... I would still go if given the chance.

From: Sherrie C. Wilson

I as 28 years old and had just lost my job. i was just sitting around the house watching TV. my bother came over and said to me. do you know the shuttle just blew up? i went on an all day channel search. from CNN to all of the major networks. watching video of that crews last moments alive was so sad.i still think of them to this day.

From: John Snow

I remember too well what I was doing when the Challenger explosion happened. My then-husband, I, and our five-year-old son were homeless, living in a one-room dive hotel in our city. That morning, I had known my son's kindergarten class were going to be watching the lift-off that day, and I hurried home after walking my son to his bus stop that morning, hoping I hadn't missed the launch. As soon as I got home, I switched on the TV, seeing mayhem, and that billowing cloud trailing what was supposed to have been the launch. I wondered, "What on earth happened?", soon to hear the shuttle literally blew up seconds after take-off. I literally missed it in the five or so minutes it took for me to walk my son 1 1/2 blocks to his bus stop. In addition, I'd just learned I could possibly be pregnant, which added to our present stress levels at the time. Fortunately, things worked out (except my marriage), and I found permanent shelter later that year and by 1987, found a new home. Another addend: I discovered my high school English teacher had been a candidate for the shuttle, and she could have well perished with the Challenger crew.

From: Lily H.

I was 10 when the shuttle blew up. I heard my teacher telling another teacher: "the space shuttle blew up and everybody died!" It was the most absurd thing I had ever seen at that point in my life. I had no idea things that horrible could happen. I refused to believe it. We wheeled the TV into the classroom and watching the actual explosion brought it into reality. It wasn't nearly as dramatic as I had pictured it, except for the two thruster rockets flying in random directions. I remember the news playing it over and over again. I had memorized the names of all the astronauts; it was like nobody could really put the event into any kind of context, so they just put the footage on an endless loop and let you decide for yourself what it meant. It was horrifying to watch the shuttle blow up and to know everybody died at that moment. It definitely woke me up as a kid.

From: Josh

I was sitting in Gov't class that day as a senior in High School. We were all watching it on TV and I remember when watching it thinking "that doesn't look right" and then hearing what just happened. My heart sank. I remember thinking I just witnessed the deaths of all of those astronauts and what their families must have felt. It's like it wasn't real, and it watching it over and over didn't make it any better. It will forever be etched in my mind, I can tell you what seat I was in, what time it happened, what I was even wearing that day.

From: Kathie

Very easy to remember. It was my birthday. My parents had just bought a VCR. I hit record on the news and went to school (I didn't know how program it yet). I was very excited it was being launched on my birthday. I was a freshmen in HS in San Jose, CA. After 1st period PE, I was hanging out in front of the locker room waiting for the bell to ring so I could goto 2nd period English. During that wait, the principal got on the loudspeaker and explained what happened. I remember it like it was yesterday. When I got to 2nd period my teacher turned on the TV in our classroom, adjusted the antenna, and put on the news. I still have that VHS tape.

From: Justin

I was in Grade Five when the Challenger blew up. I was in my science class so full of excitement to see my first launch. we dedicated the whole previous week to NASA and space exploration. Then tragedy struck on that dark day and my world became silent. I know I was young but there are things no matter what age you are you will always have the memories.

From: Rosco Treat

I was in 1st grade and we watched it live. I remember going home asking my mom about death and what happened to them. I think that was the 1st time I had wondered about death.

From: Sarah M.

Turned on the TV, and it was pretty horrific! I was at work in Fort Myers, having brunch and going through daily paperwork in the office, when suddenly, at 10am, I realized that a teacher, Christa McAuliffe, was about to embark on a mission to history as the first Teacher In Space. The Challenger space shuttle was only minutes from liftoff. I joined my coworkers in watching the liftoff live on TV. At first the mission was going well. Nothing out of the ordinary. A minute and seconds later, without warning, the most horrific turn of events erupted- just after Commander Francis Dick Scobee radioed "Roger, go at throttle up," an immensely bright flash of light erupted around the shuttle, with fire and debris spreading out in all directions, those solid rocket boosters zooming uncontrollably out of that horrific cloud in a Y-shape, forming a scorpion-like monster in the sky, and debris falling uncontrollably back down to Earth and hitting the water. That had to be just HORRIFIC! My coworkers and I screamed in a complete state of horror and sadness, and cried uncontrollably. How could we have lost seven such magnificent heroes in such a horrific disaster! When I got home, I found my mother, my father, my sister, and my brother in tears, and later they told me that they also turned on the TV, and that it was very horrific. Such a sad time! May the hero astronauts and young schoolteacher REST IN PEACE!

From: Michael

The shuttle Challenger was only seconds from liftoff that late January 1986 day. I was excited and looking forward to watching the launch. Minutes later, a friend came running up to me, panicking, and said "The shuttle has exploded!" I turned on the TV, and it was pretty horrific! A bright flash of fire, light and smoke erupted around the shuttle and lit up the beautiful Florida sky, and the shuttle was instantly destroyed, claiming the lives of seven astronauts, including Teacher In Space Christa McAuliffe. Debris rained down on the ocean from the ionosphere. That had to be just horrific!

From: William

I can remember that we were so excited because a teacher was going to be on the space shuttle. At school, they scrunched us around a television. We all waited with excitement and anticipation. Then, in seconds, ten year olds witnessed explosion and death before going right back to class. It seemed so immediate and cold. The countdown never felt the same, because there was always the worry that they might not make it back.

From: Jennifer

I was 22 and had a load of ironing that needed to be done. I remember almost burning a shirt as I stared at Dan Rather crying in front of the camera. As I was actually so shocked to see a news reporter weeping openly on tv, the actual blow up of the Challenger didn't register until later!

From: Cynthia Buchsbaum

I wasn't born yet at the time. I knew about this when my grandma said "Wanna read your Aunt's Poem?" I said "Whats it about?" Then she said "The Challenger" "The Challenger. Whats that?" I said. Then she talked about the tragedy of The Challenger and I started to cry. Then, she read the poem to me and it was a great poem. When she finished, I went on the internet and looked up The Challenger on Youtube. When it blew up, I heard people crying in the background. I cried too. I will never forget The Challenger and when I have kids, im gonna tell them this tragedy. God Bless the Crew and The Challenger.

From: Hailey

I was 11 years at that time we just started class and in a small town it was a big deal to see a teacher go to space. all the classes had a tv in the rooms to watch it was a shocker to see it explode for the rest of the day and the next there was no class the school had closed to pay there respect to the teacher and to the rest of the crew that had died and gave there life for science

From: Michael

I was a teacher and actually got the application to be "the 1st teacher in space". Needless to say I wasn't picked. I remember that day very vividly. I was teaching in St Pete, FL so we could see the launch. Several classes had come out to watch, but due to the cold, it had been postponed. The classes went back inside and I went to lunch in my office. I listened to the news at lunch and they said "something has gone terribly wrong". I ran outside just in time to see the double plume. The Coast Guard was scrambled at the same time. Later we learned they were on a "rescue mission" which changed in mid-flight to "locate wreckage and remains". Wow, how that must have affected them

From: Tom

I live in Orlando, Florida. I was walking from the video game room at the Colonial Mall, over to the Bowling Alley next door. It also had great games. I glanced to the east and in that blue sky I saw the contrail still in the air, with that very wrong "ball" shape and the trails still showing where the boosters went away. I went into the bowling alley and it was dead quiet - not one person bowling. I saw a small crowd at the counter where you get your shoes. They were all looking up at a little TV. As I came near, I saw on the screen what looked like the view from a helicopter window out over the ocean. I got this sick feeling and knew that something had happened. Replays soon confirmed this. My mom was home and her mother was visiting. She had wanted to see a launch and so my mom took her to the back yard where we always had good views on clear days. Mom said they watched as it went up, and then the explosion and spinning-away boosters. My grandma asked "Is it supposed to look like that?" My mom said "No, momma, I think something bad just happened" and they went inside to the waiting heartbreak on the television. DO YOU REMEMBER the video on MTV, by Jean-Michele Jarre called Rendezvous IV (Four)? It has the Challenger and crew in it and will haunt you forever. I wish there was a nice and clear copy online somewhere. The ones now are so blurry! God Bless the challenger families - the 80's aren't all fun memories...

From: Russ Dillard

Well it was the 13th, and I was having a great day. Until my sister yelled at me.

From: John Backangerizer

I was in first grade. The launch was a big event in my class- the AV guy at the school rolled the TV in on some huge metal cart. I think it was on 321 Contact, or maybe that was the show that led up to the launch. I loved space and when that thing blew up right in front of me, I was a bit confused. It's not supposed to do that, right. We didn't watch a lot of TV in my house, so I thought it was real, which it was. Anyway, it was a pretty traumatic event and last year I came across my first grade journal while cleaning out the attic. Halfway through the book was a full page drawing of an explosion- pretty abstract, but definitely the Challenger.

From: doogiehowser

i was in fourth grade and i remember watching the news reports over while i was at school-the next day we were supposed to have watched Christa Mcaullife give us a science lesson from space.

From: amanda

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