It was 1986 and I was a senior in high school. Having just finished lunch, we were in 5th period Senior High Chorus and as usual, the chorus was being rather cantankerous and rowdy. Mrs. Zentner, the choral director, seemed slightly more distraught than usual. She couldn’t get us to shut up so we could sing so she just barked out, “the shuttle exploded! The shuttle exploded today.”
The room went silent. I felt a lump in my throat like I was going to cry but I didn’t because I didn’t want people to see me cry. So I fought it back.
I don’t remember much of that class but I remember going into my 6th period chemistry class and saying to the teacher Mr. Shafer, “I can’t believe the shuttle exploded.”. Apparently he didn’t know because he jumped up with a start and looked panicked and then turned on the television. We spent the rest of the class watching the coverage of the Challenger Disaster.
For a geek that dreams of the stars, that day is burned in my memory forever. God bless those that lost their lives in the pursuit of exploration and the betterment of mankind.
I can’t believe it’s been 25 years. We will never forget you.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.