Friday, January 28, 2011

Remembering Challenger

Today is the 25th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. Where were you when you learned about the event?
I had just signed off on the front page of the Pottsville Republican, where I was assistant news editor. The presses started to roll. I came back to my desk to see an Associated Press bulletin flash across my computer screen. I couldn't believe it. While that version of the front page went to press, I quickly remade the front page with the news as quickly as I could. It was the first catastrophe in my newspaper career that I had to deal with remaking the front page with breaking news. But I just sort of went into automatic pilot and did what I had to do. Later, the enormity of the event hit me.
How about you?


  1. Wow, has it been that long? I was in Scotland, as part of a University of Delaware winter session education class. We had just come back from a bus tour of Loch Lomond and were tramping into the little Mom-and-Pop hotel. The hotel owners were waiting for "their American guests" in great distress. "You need to come in to the television room," they said, literally wringing their hands. "We have some bad news for you."

    The next day we visited a Scottish school. The principal apologetically said that the kids might have a lot of questions about the disaster, and we said that was fine. But not a single child mentioned it. Finally, one of my classmates said, "I heard you wanted to ask us about Challenger."

    The children burst promptly into tears. One of them said, "We didn't want to say anything and make you sad." The children were under the impression that as Americans, we might personally know the astronauts.

    What I will always remember about Challenger is how lovely and caring the Scottish people were to a bunch of American college students far from home.

  2. I was in my first year of teaching third grade. I think my students were at recess when it happened. I remember being grateful they didn't see it with me...I wasn't equiped to handle it.