Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Wasn't Yet Three Years Old. But January 28, 1986...I Was There.

Isn't it amazing, the odd, almost insignificant details you can recall from early childhood? I was almost two and a half years old, and here are the things I remember from a trip my parents and I took to visit my aunt and uncle stationed at Patrick AFB in Florida:
  • I remember an oversized stuffed white-ish (maybe yellow?) dog my aunt had at her house. I loved that thing, and we were only there for I think a week or so.
  • I remember walking down the road with my aunt. I can't tell you where we went, but I walked with her.
  • I remember that's when my love affair with gummy bears began (thanks again, Aunt Kate).
  • I remember standing under the jet my uncle flew and being scared because the area was loud and I thought it was going to run me over (even though it wasn't even on).
  • I remember my dad yanking me, and hugging me so tight that it hurt. People covering my face. My dad crying. Throughout my life I can count the number of times I have seen my dad cry on one hand. This was the first.
I never knew, or understood, what happened or what I saw until years later when I was in middle school learning about it. We watched film and I got chills. As in, déjà vu chills. When I told my dad what happened, he said "honey, you were there." He then told me all about it.


 
"...And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.
 
We mourn their loss as a nation together.
 
...We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space, and, perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers..."
 
 - exerpts from Ronald Reagan's Address to the Nation on the Evening of January 28, 1986