30 years ago on January 28, 1986 the lives of the 7 crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger ended 73 seconds after takeoff.
The vivid memories flooded back when I listened to CBC’S As It Happens interview Kristin Jacques, who was then a student at the school where crew member Christa McAuliffe taught.
I think back to the news memories of my childhood. I recall images of Tiananmen Square, Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union’s collapse and others, though none I can firmly place myself at the moment in the way my parent’s generation in the US can place themselves when they heard of the assassination of President Kennedy.
As with students at schools across the US, I was brought to the central area between the three 1st-grade and three 2nd-grade classrooms to view the takeoff. The publicity surrounding the inclusion of the first teacher to go to space had swept the nation and Christa McAuliffe was an inspiration to women in particular.
We watched in excitement, then disbelieving shock, then horror at the live TV. I give tremendous credit that day to our teachers who managed their own grief to shepherd us through the day.
The images of the day and the faces of the Challenger crews portrait will live with me forever: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik.
Readers, what is your ‘Where Were You When’ moment?