My memories are still very clear of that January morning. I was working in a dental office and had headed outside with a couple of coworkers to search the eastern sky where I had watched so many space shuttles blast off. There is a thrill in seeing the long white line of smoke that trails that shiny silver dot in the sky and then watching for the booster to drop from the sky. Space shuttle flights had become fairly routine but on that morning, our eyes were opened to the dangers of space travel that nobody likes to talk about and the fragility of life. 5...4...3...2...1...blastoff...The white line began to form in the sky and almost immediately, it was like a fireworks display that had gone bad. We stood in amazement starring at the sky hoping somehow what unfolded before our eyes was actually not really happening. Unfortunately, America lost seven lives that day and impacted millions more. This was not supposed to happen. This shuttle was different as it was carrying a young hometown Mother and school teacher who's mantra in her classroom might as well had been "reach for the stars". It left our country in a state of shock and disbelief that a space shuttle carrying seven vibrant Americans could actually explode in front of millions of people. The disaster was contributed to design flaws in the O rings on the rocket.
The image of that disaster will forever be in my mind. I pray this morning for the families of the victims that have had to somehow move on without their loved ones.
|The Challenger explosion|