Friday, January 28, 2011

Slipping the surly bonds of earth

Challenger memorial

I was on my way to work the morning of January 28, 1986, the morning that the space shuttle Challenger exploded on take-off. It was one of those events—you know, like when JFK was shot, where you remember where you were when you heard the news.

During the 1970s and 1980s, four of the space shuttle orbiters, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis, were constructed at the North American Rockwell plant in Downey.

Twenty-five years after the explosion, this plaque by the Downey Civic Center reminds us of the seven astronauts who lost their lives.


  1. I was in second grade--I had to do the math to double check my memory. I remember the teacher stopped class and told us all what had happened. I think we watched it on TV--it was a strange, sad day.

    I now have a daughter in second grade and I wonder if she'll have memories like this one.

  2. By chance I was in New York at the time, I can remember being in a hotel and seeing it on TV. Very sad.

  3. Thank you for this reminder. It's so easy to forget these things (or rather, just not think about them), yet so important to remember. It was a moment that should have been one of celebration, but turned so suddenly into shocking tragedy.

  4. Thanks, everyone, for sharing your memories here. Mary Ann, with all the upheaval that seems to be going on in Lebanon these days, I do hope your daughter ends up with something hopeful to remember from it.


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