Friday, January 28, 2011

They Were Flying for Us!

Where were you 25 years ago today?

I was in the cafeteria at my college - a technical school. We were all watching the Space Shuttle Challenger launch. Something like that is a big deal at a tech school. The computer folks (like me) were discussing the programming involved. The electronic students were marvelling at the circuitry needed to make something like that happen.

Then the unthinkable happened. In an instant. 11:38 EST. It all ended. We were stunned. And confused. Most of us (guys included) cried. Time stood still. After watching the TV in silence for another hour or so, we all left school for the day.

That 40 minute drive home was a lonely one. How on earth could the Space Shuttle have just blown up? It was scary. First, it was a tragedy for all involved. Second, just minutes before the launch, we were all talking about what we could have added to the space program - how we could be involved in something that spectacular after we graduated. The enormity of what we were studying hit home with all of us. For the first time, we realized that we were embarking on careers that could result in fantastic victories - or catastrophic endings.

So, where were you? What were you doing?

Think of those astronauts today. After all, they were flying for us.

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