Twenty-five years ago today, I was sitting in my grade 8 english class, watching the space shuttle take off and wishing that it would just hurry up already so we could get dismissed for lunch because I was hungry and my teacher wouldn’t allow me to read instead of watching the live broadcast of the liftoff.
I remember sitting there watching the tv screen, watching the shuttle and that plume of white vapor trailing behind it and thinking to myself that ‘yeah this is cool.’ Then at 11:38 am something happened and the classroom was filled with a collective gasp of shock. Suddely the shuttle was engulfed in white clouds and the trail branched off into two main columns with a few smaller ones shooting off towards the earth.
“What just happened?” many of the kids were asking the teacher.
“It was a tribute, something special done for the teacher on board.” One kid chirped.
“No, it blew up.” a few kids said.
Most of the kids were sitting in silent shock, Mrs. Kelly, our teacher just quietly got up and went over to the tv and turned it off. There still were a few minutes left before our lunch time dissmissal, and she said that we should just quietly read our books and wait to discuss what we’d just seen until more information was available.
But it was obvious right away that the shuttle had blown up and that all the astronauts were dead. Some held onto the hope that they’d be recovered and that they maybe would be banged up and injured but that at least some may still be alive.
It wasn’t to be.
A moment of silence for the seven souls lost on that day 25 years ago.