A twelve year old girl sat with her classmates. It was just another Tuesday, nothing special to these children in their little country school. They all knew that the end of the day would bring a rush home to watch the news of the first school teacher in space. While they wanted to see the shuttle's take off, there was no way for it to be shown to them. Then, it changed. The school secretary entered the chapel and interrupted the principal speaking to the school. She spoke quickly and those watching her face knew something was wrong. Moments later, the principal explained the devastation which had just been announced on television and radio waves around the country. The Space Shuttle Challenger would not be going to space. Christa McAuliffe, the school teacher who had been the topic of many discussions out in the school yard, had been killed along with her fellow astronauts, when the shuttle exploded.
That was the morning of the Challenger disaster for me. A Junior High student anxious to learn about how science was making more and more things possible. It was a morning that would not be forgotten.
As we remember the Challenger crew on this 27th anniversary, it is good to know that their sacrifice was not in vain. Scientists and Engineers have learned, perfected, and re-imagined technology based on what went wrong that fateful day. Unfortunately, not everything was made for the better. Improvements such as an escape route for the crew was never utilized by NASA. However, it is with deep gratitude for their sacrifice and appreciation for their dedication that we say, "Goodbye Again, crew of the Challenger. Rest well knowing you will never be forgotten."