Remembering the Heroes of the Space Shuttle Challenger 25 Years Later


Remembering the Heroes of the Space Shuttle Challenger 25 Years Later

Twenty five years ago today, January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight and devastated a nation. America watched in horror as many school children watched the disaster live on TV in classrooms across the country as Christa McAuliffe was the first teacher in space. We remember the American heroes of the Space Shuttle Challenger, Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.


More video from CNN.

Watch President Ronald Reagan’s historic speech to a mourning United States that will forever be remembered for the proud and calming words of our Commander in Chief … ” We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.”


Sadly I remember this event like it was yesterday as one of the heroes that perished lived not too far away. Do you remember where you were? I can also remember President Reagan comforting a nation like only he could with heartfelt words that do not exist today.

Posted January 28, 2011 by
Deceased, heroes, NASA | 8 comments

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  • Comments

    8 Responses to “Remembering the Heroes of the Space Shuttle Challenger 25 Years Later”

    1. Tamikosmom on January 29th, 2011 1:53 am

      Thank you Red.

      I remember exactly where I was when I heard of the Shuttle Challenger tragedy. I was at work on the 17 floor of the BC Tel (now Telus) building at Boundary and Kingway in Burnaby, B.C. There were no tears from the over 100 employees on that floor … only silence of unbelief.

      Within an hour it was announced on the the PA system that all employees in the building (1700) who wished to attend a prayer meeting could leave their positions and meet in a large conference room on the first level. Well … the designated conference room could not hold the 750 employees who felt led to attend. The meeting was then moved to a larger conference room. There were several religions represented in that room but we were all one with our American neighbours in their sorrow.


      Ronald Reagan: We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.”

    2. Tamikosmom on January 29th, 2011 1:57 am


      My comment went “poof”.


      SM: I think I got it ;-) (klaasend)

    3. NGBoston on January 29th, 2011 7:32 am

      Another never forget moment in our Nation’s History…I remember everyone in our Campus stopping classes as the news spread and standing around Televisions in somber silence. No matter how many times they kept replaying the image of the smoking spacecraft, the looks on the faces of all remained the same. Shock and grief.

      Christa McAuliffe—Framingham, Mass Native, God Bless that woman for her vision and vigor.

      Thanks to SM for the tribute.

    4. Rudy Barbee on January 29th, 2011 10:45 am

      Excellent tribute….The morning started with such an inspiring event. I was so jazzed to see such a diverse group of human beings galantly walk in line, waving to shuttle staff and photographers. One, Mr. McNair, was of particular interest to me. He and I shared a head table with others in Claremont, California during a gala. He shared with me his rationale for his doctoral physics paper on kinetics and Karate. I, a congressional district aide, shared my martial arts involvement and final college paper. Years later, the general counsel’s secretary came to my office, “..something terrible has happened..the shuttle exploded, they were all killed..” I immediately ran to a television in one of the corporate offices and waited for replays, and kept on looking at replays on different channels. We civilians have no idea of just how dangerous it is to be literally sitting on top of those rockets. I knew, even if they survived the explosion the impact into the water would not be so forgiving. In my mind — could they jettison? No. No solution; there’s nothing that would help.
      I thought of McNair, the teacher and the rest of the crew, of the staff and children and relatives. Just could not believe it! Or accept the fact that the little puff of black smoke at launch was not a good sign; that “smart” folks would make a calculated and idiotic decision to rush a launch, casting aside their logical, engineering skills and knowledge about chemical strength and materials — and the weather. In later years, I would find there were a number of low-level engineers clamoring to get acknowledged that the launch should not commence because of potential failures. Such advice was not successfully received and timely acted on. First time I’ve expressed this stuff. Thanks.

    5. barbreee on January 29th, 2011 3:04 pm

      I was watching the launch on television before going to work. My eyes did not believe what they saw. A terrible loss for their families, and the United States of America.

    6. nun on January 29th, 2011 7:50 pm

      I remember the incident and think Reagan’s speech after was one of his best. His speechwriter, now conservative columnist, wrote it. The last line, from the poem High Flight, still gives me goosebumps.

    7. NGBoston on January 30th, 2011 12:29 pm

      #4- Rudy- Thank you kindly for sharing your personal experience with us. Not an easy thing to do but much appreciated.

      They were all heroes and am sure many will watching again as the next shuttle will make it’s final voyage.

      God Bless and hope Gabby Giffords Husband does make the trip, I think she will want to support him on his journey as she continues to make incredible progress.

    8. Dolf on February 3rd, 2011 9:28 am

      Indeed a moment inprinted into the western Worlds minds.

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