Saturday, January 28, 2006

Remember the Seven...

Today is the twentieth anniversary of the Challenger tragedy, in which six astronauts and one schoolteacher lost their lives. Where were you when you heard the news or saw it on TV?

I was a sophomore at Delavan-Darien High School, a few months shy of sixteen. I was in the North Commons, our honors study hall. It is (or was, as I have no idea if DDHS has been remodeled since my time) a section of the hall blocked off by a pair of long white benches. Three or four rows of desks took up most of the space, and along the wall were several carrels where pairs of students could study together. The back of the North Commons was a glass wall looking out into the courtyard, but the desks were arranged so you faced the hall. The North Commons was located next to the small auditorium/AV Department. As I was studying, someone from the AV Department came out and told us the news, also inviting us to come down to the AV department and see the replay for ourselves. Over and over the explosion happened as we watched. At lunchtime, I told everyone I could about the accident.

This certainly wasn't the first piece of news that caught my attention, but it was one of those moments that sticks with you. Only 9/11 made more of an emotional impact on me. Years later, when I was in D.C. for my internship at the National Cancer Institute, one of my friends came down to visit. We went to Arlington National Cemetery, and one of the memorials I particularly wanted to see was the one to the Challenger's crew. I have a photo of myself next to it, but it's not scanned. I should ask Eugene to do that sometime.

It's going to be business as usual for me today, running errands after I post this, then returning home to clean and cook dinner before spending the evening at Barnes and Noble, but it seems appropriate to think about those who died on this day back in 1986. I also feel I should stress how important it is to check little details, especially those that affect safety. After all, it was for want of an O-ring that seven lives were lost. You never know what little details will change history.

Finally, let me end this entry with the names of the seven who gave their lives for space exploration:

Francis R. "Dick" Scobee
Michael J. Smith
Ronald E. McNair
Ellison S. Onizuka
Judith A. Resnik
Gregory B. Jarvis
Christa McAuliffe


The Dear NYer said...

Hi Sandra, yes, I do remember that tragic day very well. I was either just out of high school or a senior that winter. I was home alone, in bed, with the flu. I was watching this monumental event on the television. I couldn't believe what I witnessed next, an explosion, flames falling from the sky, and then black smoke. I was in shock just like everyone else. It was a surreal moment, one I will never forget.

You bring up 9/11, being a NYer this is especially hard to have witnessed, just 14 miles from my apartment, I watched in agony as the planes hit, I felt helpless, and I was terrified. I was very lucky not ot have any family members perish on that tragic day but, until I recieved word from my loved ones that lived and worked in the city, I was destroyed. I continued to watch the TV, and what I saw gave me strength and I knew we would be okay. All the people coming together, listening, helping one another, we were all family that day, no one more important than the next. This is a great country and us Americans, all of us who call the US home, are wonderful, compassionate, and strong people.

Sandra said...

Nice to see you posting here, Dear NYer!

Eugene and I were in both NY and DC shortly before 9/11. We spent only two or three days in NY before flying to DC, and we came back home on 9/8. (Eugene told me much later he had wanted to stay until 9/10, but I insisted we go home a little earlier to get "readjusted.") I actually found out what had happened from him; he called me at work and left a message on my answering machine. It was like stumbling into an alternate universe; "surreal" is a very good word for it. I tried to continue working, but I was in just as much shock as everyone else. When I got home, I sent a check to the American Red Cross. It was the only thing I could think of help.

The Dear NYer said...

Sara, I love reading your posts. Thank you for the hospitality :)

The Dear NYer said...

Sara, I love reading your posts. Thank you for the hospitality :)

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