Thursday, January 26, 2006

Time to Remember Challenger Disaster Correctly

I saw the Challenger disaster unfold right before my eyes.

I was in high school then, in Port Orange, Florida. Shuttle flights had become mundane to most people, but not me. I was excited by the prospect of regular trips to space, regardless of the delays and exorbitant costs associated with every shuttle launch.

I remember sneaking out of class, looking up in the sky, watching the shuttle streaking through the blue, up and away from us earth-bound clods...

Then I saw the boosters break off and streak sideways (from my perspective) and knew immediately something had gone terribly wrong. Back inside the school most of the kids had no idea there was even a launch that day--much less did they understand the risks associated with every launch. So when the principal announced what had happened, shrieks and tears and cries of confusion spread quickly.
I just walked to my car and went home. My dreams went down with that ship and those heroes. It would be years before we would return to space and even when we did, it would not be with the same level of confidence, optimism and bravado we once had.

In honor of those who lives were lost and to help set the record as straight as it can be, MSNBC has another nice multi-media package (I promise I don't get a kick-back from them) concerning public misconceptions about the tragedy.

20 Years After Challenger attempts to explain what really happened, separating fact from fiction, and trying to make sense of the senseless.

It's definitely worth a look, if only because the disaster it details is worth remembering correctly...

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