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Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by bigpern23, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Twenty-five years ago today, the Challenger space shuttle exploded a little more than a minute after liftoff. I'm actually surprised there isn't more being made of this.

    The explosion is one of my most vivid childhood memories. Our 2nd-grade class went to a 4th-grade teacher's room to watch the launch on TV. Schools everywhere had kids watching it because of Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who was supposed to go into space.

    I remember all the kids being really confused and Mrs. Hayward, the 4th-grade teacher, quickly shutting off the TV once she realized we had just watched seven people die. One kid asked if Mrs. McAuliffe was still going to go to space.

  2. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    I just watched the YouTube video of the explosion, only to see how it was reported on live TV. I was 10 at the time. I remember we were out on a snow day and my dad had taken me to get a haircut and we were listening to the launch on WMAL in the car when word hit that it had exploded. We kind of sat there stonefaced for a while, trying to figure out what had happened.

    Interesting to see how the CNN anchor handled it. He clearly had no idea what was going on, so he just sat back and let mission control tell the story. Crazy to hear the mission control guy try to keep it together, because he clearly knew he had lost seven comrades. His voice cracks halfway through it, but he manages to stay professional. Incredible.

    YouTube clip is here if anyone is interested:
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I was in sixth grade and I believe we had to come in early to watch it. After the explosion, the teachers were all in a meeting for about an hour and we were sent home.

    I think for those of us between the ages of 30-40, it's one of those moments where just about everybody remembers where they were when they were watching it.
  4. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Ninth-grade swim class, they came over the P.A. to tell the whole school and then we just sat and watched the whole thing during lunch since the TVs were already in there for it.

    One weird thing I will always remember about that event is it introduced me to the concept of cynicism/sarcasm in a tragedy, whether as a coping mechanism or whatever. By that weekend people were sharing all the jokes they had heard. Still shake my head a little bit at that.
  5. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    11th grade U.S. history class. Teacher (also the baseball coach) came in and said the shuttle had exploded and no one, of course, believed him. But remember that day and that week vividly.

    One of the four major moments in my life where I remember where I was: Challenger, Oklahoma City, Columbine and 9/11.
  6. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Yeah, I remember those four all pretty vividly.
  7. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    I'll always remember where I was when I heard Nelson Mandela didn't die.
  8. Brian

    Brian Well-Known Member

    I was much too young to remember it, so why do you think this incident had such a large impact -- much larger than the actual death toll? Was it because it was one of the first tragedies covered live on television other than Oswalt's shooting? McCauliffe's presence? The President's presence? All of the above? As someone who was two at the time, I just always wondered why this event, more than any other in the 1980s excepting the Iranian hostage situation seemed to be a generationally defining moment?
  9. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    It was when any shuttle launch was considered must-see TV. There was also a civilian on the Challenger for the first time and I remember that adding to it.
  10. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    That's a good question Brian. To me it was two things. One was the strong visual, something we had never seen before, not just the explosion but any kind of significant live happening. The other part was the buildup because of the teacher -- every school in America was teaching it in advance because of that.
  11. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that SO many schools had set up TVs to let students watch the first teacher go into space. It's a moment that sticks very vividly in the minds of anyone who watched in school that day, I'd bet.

    It was also the first time any American astronauts died in flight. The fact that it was broadcast on live television made it that much more visible.
  12. Pancamo

    Pancamo Active Member

    Christa McAuliffe was a teacher so many schools made it a priority to show the launch to students.
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