Twenty-eight years ago today, the U.S.S. Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch, at approximately 11:40am EST. All hands were lost.
I was 15 when Challenger died. That’s the only way I can think of it — she died, and all her crew with her. That’s how wrapped up in the Space Program I was. I watched it unfold live, and my excitement at watching a launch in school turned into complete shock as seven lives winked out of material existence. Tears flowed immediately, and even now, all these years later, it doesn’t take more than a few thoughts to bring it all back. They deserve to be remembered every bit as much as those who die in wars or in accidents of fate.
In honor of the seven brave people who died that day, and those who loved them, and all those who have followed their example and striven to reach the stars, I remember, and do what I can to inspire others to follow the difficult road to the stars.