If you’re old enough to remember the Space Shuttle Challenger’s explosion, you’ll never forget where you were on Jan. 28, 1986 when it blew up on live TV, horrifying millions of viewers, including students across the nation who gathered to watch the first teacher go into space.
Such a sad anniversary! 30 years ago the nation watched in horror as the Challenger exploded into a fireball just 73 seconds after liftoff at NASA’s Cape Canaveral in Florida. It was viewed by SO many people back then because it featured the first teacher – Christa McAuliffe – to go into space. Classrooms across the country stopped lessons so that their students could watch the big event, only to have it end in horror!
Friend and loves ones of those aboard the fatal mission gathered at Kennedy Space Center on the solemn anniversary of the Challenger’s explosion, including one Christa’s two now-grown children, who were just six and eight-years-old when they lost their mom Both Caroline and Scott McAuliffe have followed their late mother’s footsteps and become teachers themselves, and Scott made a rare public appearance in honor of his mom, holding a white rose. Caroline and their father Steve chose not to attend the remembrance ceremony. Along with Scott was Alison Smith Balch, daughter of Challenger pilot Michael Smith and Kathie Scobee Fulgham and her brother Air Force Brig. Gen. Richard Scobee, the children of Challenger commander Francis Scobee.
But it was Christa’s story that enthralled the nation and had so many people glued to their TV’s the morning of the launch. She was chosen from 10,000 candidates to be the first schoolteacher to visit space, and went through all the rigorous training for the mission. Schools and Colleges nationwide stopped classes so that students could watch history be made with her trip aboard the Challenger, only to watch in confusion then horror as it lit into a fireball and exploded across a sunny blue sky.
HollywoodLifers, do any of you remember watching the Challenger distaster happen? What are your memories of it?