Friday, January 28, 2011


Today will forever be etched in my memory.

The year was 1986. I was on the bus on my way to school. I remember it wasn't snowing. (Today, it's snowing.)

We pulled up the drive to my school and a member of the administration stopped us - I don't remember hearing what she said to the driver, but I do remember the bus turning around, and catching a glimpse of our church up in flames. The church was old, you see, and the electrics were bad. The individual who told us to go home tried to stop us before we saw the church, but it couldn't be helped...everyone in the bus saw it happen.

In tears, the driver dropped everyone off at their respective homes or daycare facilities. In tears, I walked the 200 feet to my babysitter's front door. In tears, I explained to her what I saw. She attempted to console me by saying the space shuttle was taking off, and we could watch it, because it was very important to see, and wouldn't that be fun? I agreed, and my morning was forgotten in my excitement. I knew that if Miss Donna said it was important, then we absolutely MUST watch it, for it's something I would have to remember.

So I waited patiently for the morning to progress. At 11:30, she turned on the TV and we sat and watched the Challenger take off. We cheered; she said we should be happy.

And then we watched it explode. Time stopped.

It is a day I will never forget. May those crewmembers NEVER be forgotten.


Michael said...

Oh good grief! I don't know what to say. That day was a rough one for many of us, but it was especially hard-hitting for you.

Laura said...

I was five, so I don't remember the grief, but I do remember the confusion. I didn't understand what was happening, just that it was upsetting. My little five-year-old brain couldn't process that much at once.

Now, I think it hits a bit harder.

Mike W. said...

I don't remember Challenger at all, but I do remember news reports on the anniversary of the disaster once I was older.

Sorry you had to go through that. To say that's a shitty day would be an understatement.

Laura said...

Well, you *were* a bit young to remember it firsthand.

Jennifer said...

Well I was a little older than you. I remember 7 year old me sitting at the very front of the class closest to the TV. I was so excited. We'd been working up to it for quite some time. I watched and cheered. And then...silence. Not even the teachers knew how to react. My teachers had always known answers before that. It was frightening. Somehow, I knew when my classmates did not. Some asked if they were okay. I wanted to turn around and shout at them that NO! They were not okay. They were dead. Thankfully, my seven year old mind had slightly more tact than that.
And still, I'm sure my day was less traumatic than yours.