Yesterday was the 25the anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. In one sense, it’s easy to recognize the passage of time since that day. However, it’s still vivid in my mind when I found out. I was a fourth grade student, at Dundee Elementary, when the school secretary, Mrs. Weibasch (sp?) came into our classroom and told us about the disaster. My teacher went and got a television and we watched the news coverage for most of the morning. It was surreal. I was watching a catastrophe. I was watching death. At recess, some of us were looking up into the sky, wondering if we could somehow see the smoke from the disaster.
At the time, I couldn’t understand the magnitude of the event. Like many students back then, I’d laugh at the joke about NASA now being an acronym for “need another seven astronauts”. I had no clue.
Twenty-five years later, I appreciate the commitment and sacrifice those seven astronauts made for exploration, science and mankind. I think of their families, and hope life turned out well despite losing a loved one.
Twenty-five years later, former President Ronald Reagan’s words continue to ring true.
We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’