I didn’t even know it was scheduled. I was consumed with preparations for my wedding that upcoming weekend and hadn’t kept up with the news in weeks. My boss blurted out, “The Challenger exploded!” when I came back from my lunch break. Like an idiot, and an eloquent one at that, I responded, “Huh?”
“The Challenger! The space shuttle with the teacher! It exploded!”
The light dawned then. Oh boy, did it ever.
We didn’t have a television at our little workplace, but when I got home and turned it on, the video was splashed everywhere, on all the networks, played over and over and over again. The image of the explosion was all over the newspaper and magazines, everywhere you turned for the next weeks, it seemed like that’s all there was to see in the media. It was horrible. I could not imagine being a loved one of one of the crew members who’d died, and having to live with that imagery constantly on display in the aftermath of the disaster. The whole event still brings tears to my eye, even today, exactly 30 years later. That vivid picture, that awful scene of the Y-smoke is burned into the minds of many, myself included.
It is a Day of Remembrance for NASA. Many astronauts have been lost during this week over the years. It’s a very good week for launching missions.
My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those lost.