i remember waking up too late to see the launch. i was pretty upset about that. like most of the country, i had been stoked to see this launch. the first space shuttle launch with a civilian onboard! one of us. a teacher.
Hino was just 20 days old. he was a fussy baby. he didn't sleep long and hated to sleep alone in his crib. but this day, he slept with me a little longer.
after i got Hino ready for the day, i went downstairs and turned on the tv. the first thing i heard was "there has been a malfunction". great, i thought. another toilet has blown up. see, back then, no one could even conceive of a MAJOR malfunction. we certainly could not conceive of a space shuttle crew dying or the shuttle blown to bits. it just wasn't possible.
then i watched the footage of the Challenger blasting off and rolling up into the sky. then i heard "go with throttle up" and DAMN, my heart exploded! i could not even get my head around what was happening. i nearly dropped Hino. i couldn't sit or walk or move. i just stood there crying my heart out.
i couldn't tell you what i was doing when Lennon was shot, or reagan was shot or the Pope was shot. i vaguely remember where i was when Elvis died. but i do rememeber all the details on the day Challenger exploded. i remember it like it was yesterday. i remember it more clearly than the the Colombia explosion or the comets that hit Jupiter. it is still fresh. and i still grieve for all the children that so anxiously watched their mom's and dad's die a horrible death. in my mind, what made it so much worse was, they didn't even get to see the earth from space. they never made it up there. and you can think what you want of Reagan, but that man grieved. he made the most touching speech i have ever heard...and i do believe they have touched the face of God.
73 seconds...just 73 seconds.