The space shuttle Challenger

People don’t talk about the Challenger anymore – it’s not part of most people’s conscious lives. But it’s part of mine.

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded a couple minutes after takeoff. I’m not sure anymore of the exact number of seconds, though I’m thinking it was 80-some. We’ve found out why (a faulty O-ring, and an attitude of “it has to succeed, so shut up and cross your fingers”). And in the big picture, it’s one hiccup on the trail of human exploration.

But it’s personal to me, and it was a tragedy, and there were 7 wonderful people on board that shuttle. A divorced Jewish woman astronaut! A black guy! A Hawaiian oriental guy! It was a mixed-race, mixed-gender, wonderful crew – representatives of the real human race. They were beautiful, and heroic, and they died because we – their caretakers – were stupid.

And the world goes on. But today, I thank these people for their heroism and their lives and their sacrifices. I haven’t forgotten.

Dick Scobee
Michael Smith
Ronald McNair
Ellison Onizuka
Gregory Jarvis
Judith Resnick
Christa McAuliffe

Bless you all. Thank you. May you rest in peace. You are remembered.

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