Friday, January 28, 2011

"They Slipped the Surley Bonds of Earth to Touch the Face of God." ~Ronald Reagan

(Photo credit: National Geographic)

Today my mind was on the memory of the space shuttle Challenger explosion disaster. If you are old enough to remember, it is one of those painful historic events that evoke memories of where you were and what you felt at the time.

This particular space shuttle mission was significant for education because one of "our own," Christa McAullife, a school teacher and citizen astronaut was a member of the crew. On January 28, 1986 the much heralded flight exploded just 73 seconds into the flight, with a horrified nation looking on. The anguish was compounded by the fact that school children around the country were tuned into the televisions in their classrooms for the event.

I was teaching school at the time and remember the excitement and energy exuded by the students in my homeroom. I will never forget the stunned expressions of disbelief, the audible gasps and then the silence after the explosion occurred. The rest of the school day the halls were quiet. Everyone subdued. A state of shock prevailed . That particular day was to have been my first cast meeting after school for the spring musical. It didn't seem important anymore. I canceled. All I wanted to do was go pick up my one-year-old daughter, kiss her sweet face and go home to my husband and give him a long hug.

President Reagan, instead of giving his scheduled State of the Union address, delivered a message of "mourning and remembering" on national broadcasts that same day. Here are some of his words:

"I want to say something to the school children of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling into the future, and we'll continue to follow them."

"The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives." We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for there journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God.'"

Me, with Astronaut Don Lind, Sister Morton( and a random Elder checking us out in the background.)

When I arrived on my LDS mission to Houston, Texas we were taken to NASA and greeted and given a tour by LDS astronaut Don Lind. (click his name to read about him)
It was awesome!

Me, in a control room at NASA with Sister Hinson, the Bishop's wife (and baby). October 1981. Check out the "old-school" computers.

I served in two areas close to NASA and had the opportunity to visit several times. One memorable time I had the chance to meet and talk with astronaut Sally Ride. (Click her name) Really. She was so cool. I regret I don't have a photo to prove it:)

Our family has a fascination for space, from my husband, who wanted to be a pilot when he was little, to my daughter, Coryn who attended a summer of space camp at the Christa McAulliffe Space Center when she was in middle school.
(I, however, got a 'D' in an astronomy class in college. Yes, a 'D'.
Though I did find the class interesting, I have no talent for science.)
And I will admit here in print that one of our favorite rides at Disneyland is the
Star Wars Adventure:)

*Of note: NASA is due to formally shut down the 30-year-old shuttle program in a few months due to high operating costs.

1 comment:

Caitlyn said...

Space Camp! Hahaha I like your Farmboy picture on the side :)