Friday, January 27, 2006

Challenger: 20 Years Ago

by Kimber

Has it really been 20 years? I can't say that it seems like yesterday, though I remember it as if it were yesterday. Watching it replayed over and over and over again on television. Watching a childhood dream disintegrate into a ball of flames in front of my eyes. Knowing that I was to have met the Challenger astronauts had they returned to Earth made it all the more painful and real. My gifted and talented school had set up a meet and greet with them for the spring. What an awesome chance for a 9 year old, to actually meet an astronaut in person. But it was not meant to be, and I have never gotten to meet one since, though my interest in the space program has not waned, despite my lack of time to truly follow it.

I'm sorry, I'm rambling. It is simply mind-blowing, even all these years later, and that sinking sense of dread and horror never leaves me, no matter how many times I see the footage. Particularly when it catches me by surprise, I still, to this day, get a lump in my throat. And one of my greatest sorrows is that it is not the defining "where were you when" moment of my life as everyone said it would be (9/11 now holds that spot, I do believe). Very sad indeed.

May we also remember the Columbia crew and the "Apollo 1" crew on this day.

The shuttle graphic at the start of this post was made by Kimber. I have been thinking of starting a "blinkie of the day" type thing on my blog, and when I saw this one today, I couldn't think of a better one to start with.
Currently feeling: 9 years old again


  1. When I was in 8th grade, my classmates & I nominated our science teacher to be the 1st teacher in space. I wanted him to be on that shuttle SO badly. We were all so sad when he wasn't chosen.

    The day of the launch, my 9th grade science teacher had arranged for us to have a tv in the classroom so we could watch the Challenger take off. I felt my heart sink into my gut when it exploded & I couldn't believe my eyes. I prayed that they all somehow were able to eject from the shuttle & were all alive, but deep down I knew the horrible truth. It was my 1st of too many "where were you when" moments.

    I am still just as passionate about the space program & space exploration. In 2001 I got to tour NASA's Johnson Space Center (they used to open to the public 1 day a year, but that stopped after 2001) & saw the Apollo mission control, the ISS mission control, hangars, testing facilities, etc. & met at least 1/2 dozen astronauts. It was one of the coolest days of my life.

  2. It is still a "where were you when" moment in my life, and so is 9/11 just in a different way as I was in different parts of my life (obviously). Both those moments will always be with me. :( I know what you mean Erin, it seems like yesterday.


My apologies for not allowing comments from Anonymous users. I was getting way too much spam. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!