Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Challenger 1986

Quote of the day: "One small step for man, one large step for mankind" Neil Armstrong

Song of the day: "The Final Countdown" Europe

Where were you today in 1986 and did this even Impact your life in any way shape or form? I was in 7th grade and in Social Studies. My 7th grade Science teacher had been amongst the teachers vying for the postion won by Christa McAuliffe . And this day was an event for us. Our teacher had got the AP guys to install a TV and Beta in the classroom. She was going to record the event live and play it for our class. She was teaching a class when it happened. I loved my science teacher, she was the 7th grade bomb. I can remember clearly her walking into the Social Studies room and calling the teacher out into the hallway. She was crying. We could hear her in the hallway in hysterics.

This was old school. This was when you did not get up from your seat to see what was going on in fear of going to the office and we all just sat there. In a way we knew. No one was talking, just listening. Everyone wanted to be out in the hallway. There to comefort her. Never in any of our imaginations did we think something went wrong with the space shuttle. Another teacher called the office on the PA system and there was a meeting of the top minds at BCMS. Our teacher came in and finished class.

I was nervous. My next class was science. Our teacher was there and she spoke to us in a monotone. She said that the office had contacted all of our parents and instructed a few students to go to the office. For the rest of us she said there was bad news about the space shuttle. She told us that she had permission to play the tape but that it was very disturbing because there had been an accident and then let us opt out of being in class. No one left (except the few who's parents said they couldnt' watch it). She played it for us.

It was amazing. I was so going to ask to go to NASA space camp for summer. Up... Up... and then... were the fuel tanks seperating... and really At first I just thought a fuel tank had exploded after it had seperated from the shuttle. Milla-seconds later the true disaster unfolded. Horror. What happened. Did the cold war start?

And yes. That was my thought. The Russians had found away to Nuke our space shuttle and I was pissed. I stood up and yelled, "Those God Damned Commie Bastards" just as I had learned from my mom and all the adults in my life that spoke when they thought I was not listening. The teacher snapped out of her funk and said, "WHAT?" and I repeated it a smaller voice. After all we had watched, "The Day After" Just a few weeks prior when learning about the basis on atomic energy and where that had started from and gone to.

That was the start of my fear of Cold War. I watched the news that night for the first time with intrest. I hung on every word. I sat backwards on a chair and was a half of a foot away from the screen. I analized the data presented closer then any NASA scientist could even imagine. And I didn't even have half the facts. I pointed out when the first sign of the problem was and that destruction would be iminent from there out. My grandmother told me that was nonsence besides a decent girl wouldn't worry none about science. My mother told me to mind my own business. My Uncle Bill (who passed last year) smoked his cigar and stared at me.

I was not allowed to discuss the space shuttle. I was not allowed to express my fear of the cold war. That was when I first came aware of preduice (Commie Bastards) and when I discovered that being born into an Irish Catholic family, it was simple, people played with science and GOD punished them for their acts.

I have sense taken every science class I could take. I plan to take more if my degree at Southern will allow it. The shuttle Challenger has haunted me my entire adult life.

That is all. Does anyone have anything to share on the topic? Todays quote was not random. The song was a toss up the one I posted or the one I think David Bowie sings... Major Tom... I have to look it up. No... not Bowie... WHO? Grrrr. Ok DOC.... who did Major Tom!!!!! Or is it the same song as the one I posted. Now I'm confused.

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4 Comments:

Blogger dr sardonicus said...

Which one do you want, "Space Oddity" or "Ashes To Ashes"? They're both good 'uns...

I was at the laundromat(!) with Peggy that day, kinda sorta dating then, both of us broke as hell. Good times. I remember that explosion like it was yesterday.

And then there's the Cold War, like the War On Terror, more about us than it was about them. Fear factor.

1/28/09, 1:27 AM  
Blogger Complaint Department Manager said...

I was in junior high, my social studies instructor had it on TV and we all watched the entire class period. It was an event never to be forgotten.

1/28/09, 6:49 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I was in the 10th grade when Challenger happened. I cant remember the class I was in but I remember the teacher interupted the class to let us know. I also remember the very crude jokes that some of the students came up with. I remember Ronald Reagans speach when he addressed the nation. It was one of the best speaches that I have heard from a President in re-assuring a country.

1/28/09, 6:09 PM  
Blogger fermicat said...

I remember the Challenger disaster vividly. I was in college, but on a co-op work assignment. My shift was 6:30 - 3:00, and when I arrived the first thing I did was to scoop out samples from a bunch of tanks of chemicals and then performed titrations to analyze the contents. This took a few hours, and I always had the radio on for company.

That was what I was doing when I heard about what happened. Work slowed to a crawl as I listened anxiously for any scrap of new news.

A few years earlier, my Dad took me a see a shuttle launch. It was challenger in 1984, and Dad's research group had an experiment on board. So I felt like I had a personal connection with the Challenger shuttle.

1/28/09, 8:08 PM  

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