In 1986 I was launching my health care career, pounding the floors as a nurses aid at Wayland Health Center. That’s where I heard the news of the Challenger disaster.
A space shuttle launch had become routine. The inclusion in the crew of a teacher, Christa McAuliffe, was the human interest until that tragic launch. Now a disaster– the burning shuttle– played on every TV screen over and over again.
I went home that night, and for lack of any other way to pay tribute, I lit candles in the snow for seven brave souls who died in a great adventure. I grieved that they died before even reaching orbit, that Christa McAuliffe didn’t get to see the earth from space.
The 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster was marked by a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida attended by hundreds. Among those speaking at the event was the widow of the shuttle’s commander, as the AP reports:
“June Scobee Rodgers, the widow of Challenger’s commander, Dick Scobee, urged the crowd to ‘boldly look to the future’ not only in space travel, but in space and science education. She was instrumental in establishing the Challenger Center for Space Science Education.”
Their work lives on. We honor the seven members of that crew, talented and accomplished people who are sorely missed…
The Challenger crew on the day it exploded were: Commander Dick Scobee; co-pilot Michael Smith; Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian-American in space; Judith Resnik; Ronald McNair, the second African-American in space; Christa McAuliffe; and Gregory Jarvis.
Think of them when you look up at the stars.