I still remember the day very clearly, January 28, 1986, I was nine years old and in class at Evergreen Elementary School in Brooklyn Center, MN when an announcement came over the loudspeaker about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.

The event was of particular interest to schools because of the inclusion Christa McAuliffe, a teacher, on the mission who was going to do two live classroom sessions from space. She along with six others died when their mission ended in catastrophic failure with the destruction of Challenger after just 73 seconds.

Quickly after the announcement was made  to the school a TV was rolled into our classroom and we watched the coverage live for at least an hour. I remember walking home that day and immediately turning on the TV and watching the coverage nonstop until bedtime.

This was the first major news event that I can remember, I can still visualize the news anchors with their experts holding up models of the spacecraft speculating what could have gone wrong.

I clearly remember President Reagan speaking to the country from the Oval Office, he ended the speech by saying, "The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God."

Sadly I've witnessed many more terrible news stories since, but this story, the astronauts, the memories of that day will always be safely tucked away in my mind.

Challenger Disaster Live Coverage

President Reagan Speaks to the Nation