January 28, 1986

The classroom buzzed with excitement two days after the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl.  That is, until the school nurse rushed in to tell the fourth grade teacher something terrible.

And suddenly, the world of excitement turned to a world of sadness as the teacher told her class about the Challenger disaster.

I think we learned that day the difference between sports heroes and true heroes to worship, such as Christa McAuliffe, who should have been the first teacher in space.

In preparation for the historic space shuttle flight in previous weeks, our own fourth grade teacher told us stories of the early space exploration years and how she spent some of her childhood living near Cape Canaveral.  She was my classroom hero that year, encouraging my writing, and a teacher I still remember fondly.  Even if she gave us the bad news of the Challenger disaster.

Somewhere in New Hampshire on January 28, 1986, Christa McAuliffe’s students lost their classroom hero.   She also left behind her husband and two young children, who lost their everyday hero.  Six other families lost their loved ones – their heroes in space exploration and in everyday life, too.


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4 Responses to January 28, 1986

  1. April says:

    Thank you so much for writing this post. If you couldn’t tell by my blog, I am a huge space nerd/advocate. I love that you took the time to remember Challenger today!!

  2. Briley says:

    I was an infant, so I don’t remember this. I’m from NH though, and learning about in fifth grade and hearing my teacher talk about losing her best friend, it resonated and finally made it feel like real people.

  3. Karen says:

    I was a senior in high school at the time, and was home sick watching the space shuttle take off. I’ll never forget that moment. Months later, I was in my freshman year of college and became friends with a girl who was one of Christa McAuliffe’s students. She had a beautiful shadow box memorial of her in her dorm room. It’s funny how it seems like just yesterday, yet also seems like it all happened so long ago.

  4. Minnesota Nice says:

    I clearly remember the day. I was on my lunch break and when I returned to the office the woman in the desk next to mine said, “Kathy, I’ve got some really bad news”. Then she started to cry. I thought something had happened to another co-worker or family mamber. But when she said the shuttle had blown up, it was so stratling that I was numb for hours.
    To this day, whenever Ruth comes up in coversation, that’s the first thing I think of.


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