The Challenger

When I think back on my third grade teacher I remember a smile always on her face and a twinkle in her eye. Even as third graders we knew that she loved being a teacher and loved being there with us. She was kind and sweet and excited about teaching. That may have been why she was over the moon when NASA announced that they’d be sending a school teacher into space where she would be teaching lessons live the space shuttle. It was a big deal and all of us kids were pretty excited, but no one was more excited than our teacher.

She arranged to have a TV set up in our classroom so that we could watch the launch live as it happened. So we could watch history happen. I was sitting cross-legged on the floor of my classroom right next to my teacher as the countdown begun.

A few moments later the Challenger exploded right in front of our third grade eyes. I looked at my teacher who sat starring at the TV. The color was gone from her face and she looked over at us, her class. No one knew what to say.

At that moment a piece of my childhood innocence disappeared. I would never be able to watch a shuttle launch, or even a regular plane take off, without holding my breath. The image of that shuttle exploding in front of me would forever be a picture I would have embedded into my memory.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mickey Mills
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 08:58:50

    My third-grade memory was the Kennedy assassination, so I can relate fully. JFK kicked off the space race with these words…

    “We will go to the moon. We will go to the moon and do other things, NOT because they are easy but because they are HARD.”

    As a bit of a science geek as a child, I always had a fascination with the NASA program. The challenger disaster was a crushing blow. I even went from Raliegh, NC, to Arlington Cemetery to attend Pilot Michael Smith’s funeral. To say the least, I was devastated. My blog today is also a memorial.


  2. niceone
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 08:05:51

    I think I was in 2nd grade when Challenger exploded. With great irony, my daughter did a report on Christ Mccaluffe (sp?!?) last year in 2nd grade. It was quite interesting to be back in those shoes, and remember that day. Hard to believe it’s been so long.


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