On this day 34 days ago many of us gathered around a television set to watch a horrific event. That morning the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch and all seven astronauts died. That day we lost:
- Gregory Jarvis (1944-1986)
- Christa McAuliffe (1948-1986)
- Ronald McNair (1950-1986)
- Ellison Onizuka (1946-1986)
- Judith Resnik (1949-1986)
- Richard Scobee (1939-1986)
- Michael Smith (1945-1986)
At the time I was the Director of Religious Education at All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, Virginia. It was ordinary morning until my secretary Edye McIntyre (1928-2008) got a call and expressed her grief. When I heard the news my first reaction was: “Oh no, not with the teacher.” It was a hard day.
We humans have always felt the need to explore. What’s over those mountains? What’s across that sea? Can we reach the moon? Can we reach other planets or galaxies? Let’s try.
All attempts put us in danger but we explore nonetheless.
Thirty four years later let us honor these brave Americans whose sacrifice made our exploration better. And let us honor the teacher, and all those teachers who have inspired us.