Today In History 1/28

January 28, 1986: The space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after take-off, killing all seven crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe.

One of those “Where were you when you heard?” generational mileposts.

I heard it on the local all-news station while preparing a lesson for an IRS training class in LA’s mid-Wilshire area. It was awful news, both for the lives lost, and the questions it raised about continuing the manned space program.

After 28 years memories, even if they were accurate to begin with, can blur. Here is an interesting commentary at NBC News on “7 myths about the Challenger disaster”. Well, six myths and a copyediting complaint. He pedantically says one of the myths is that the shuttle “exploded.” If he is technically correct in saying so, he overlooks that we who use the word “exploded” have seen the video and the fireball. “The Challenger exploded” is an idiom, not an NTSB report.


2 thoughts on “Today In History 1/28

  1. I remember starting out from home to drive to work that morning. when whatever the tone of the launch advance announcement on the news was made me feel distinctly queazy. There was a distinct element of uncertainty in it, and I remember posting a note in the back of my mind saying ‘those people aren’t coming back.’ I was not particularly gratified when I got home that evening to find my misgivings had been confrimed

    Graham Charnock

  2. I used to work at the Cape (before the Shuttle era), so when I heard about the Challenger disaster on my car radio, I was deeply dismayed. One of my hobbies is choral singing, and even though I’m not a believer, I sing a lot of church music, So it was that the words and chant of the Requiem by French composer Maurice Duruflé (which I’ve sung several times) came to my mind at that moment, as they did later when I turned on the radio one morning and learned about the Columbia disaster: “Grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may everlasting light shine upon them.” The words comforted me.

Comments are closed.