30 Year Anniversary: Remembering the Challenger Disaster of 1986
No matter how old you were, or what you were doing, January 28th, 1986 will always live as one of those days you'll never forget.
I remember the day like it was yesterday, and I was only six years old. That's how much of an impact it had on my life. I grew up in New Hampshire, and lived only 10 miles away from where Christa McAuliffe taught social studies at Concord High School.
When word got out that she would be representing our country in the Challenger space shuttle, she quickly became a hero in our state. Someone that we could all look up to that if you set your dreams and work hard towards them, you'll achieve whatever you want to do.
She was selected from over 11,000 applicants from across the country to be on the Challenger as the first teacher ever in space.
Her plan? To be able to teach school lessons FROM SPACE that would be sent back down to Earth live for all children to learn from.
When the Challenger space shuttle was getting ready to take off, I was watching Sesame Street on PBS and they were able to put the lift off in the corner of the screen for everyone to still be able to watch.
To see the shuttle take off, it amazed me. I was six years old but still knew what that "big ship going into the air" meant. It meant exploring a piece of our galaxy that we may have never seen before. And it meant that all of us may have the chance, at some point in time, to be able to achieve heights other people may have told us isn't possible.
However, on January 28th, 1986, it didn't end the way we had hoped.
And the imagery was cemented in our minds for the many years after.
At first, as a six year old kid, I was upset because they replaced Sesame Street with a special news report on PBS.
"Why would they take off my show," I would ask my mother. But she explained to me why. While the imagery was still being shown, for all to watch.
I sat there and watched it. Continuously. Never turning my eye or wondering when snack time or nap time would be. And I remember it all...30 years later.
At that point in time, being six years old...4 years old...or 35 years old. It didn't matter your age. You realized the impact this had on our country. The impact it had on the world. And the impact it had on space exploration.
So where were you when the Challenger disaster occurred? What were you doing when it all happened? And let us know the impact it had on your lives, so we can use it in a story on the official anniversary date on Thursday.
For Christa McAuliffe and her six crewmates who died that day, they should be remembered every year for the strides they tried to take our country through space exploration.
And never be forgotten for the impact they had on January 28th, 1986.