Monday, January 30, 2006

Twenty years ago...

I can't believe it has been 20 years since the Challenger exploded. I used to remember thinking what it would be like to say that I remembered when something had happened, and no one else would.

That day has come. I'm officially old.

I was at work when I read a news blurb about it. I asked the other nurses what they were doing when they heard the Challenger blew up. I was mostly met with blank stares as if I had just asked them to explain the molecular makeup for Crisco. It never occurred to me that these people wouldn't know...but they were around 3-4 years old when it happened, so they wouldn't know. Most of these people never knew what Madonna was like at the beginning of her career, they have always known a world of technology, they don't remember when Michael Jackson was black, and they certainly didn't have the pleasure of experieneing New Coke.

Sheesh, I remember what life was like before microwave ovens .

Each generation has that one big thing they will remember. My grandparent's will remember Pearl Harbor. My mother's generation will never forget the day Kennedy was shot. My generation has the Challenger. The next generation (and pretty everyone else who was breathing that day), will have September 11. What will be the event that my posterity will always remember.

Given the current state of the world today, there should be plenty to choose from.

Anyway, I remember the day that Challenger fell from the sky. I was in the 5th grade. I was wearing a Royals baseball hat. We had just finished a school assembly of some band presentation when our principle announced that the Challenger blew up. Not too many students understood the gravity of it, but what did resonate was that there was a teacher on board, and she died. That could have been one of our teachers.

After the assembly, everyone quietly went back to their homerooms. Then, we resumed our lessons. The news that evening would reply the incident over and over and over. I will remember what that looked like. I will remember Christa McAuliffe walking out with the other astronauts in her blue suit, waving as she did so.

And to think, that was 20 years ago.

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