What readers remember of the Challenger explosion

Thursday marks 30 years since Space Shuttle Challenger exploded over the skies of Florida.

Earlier this week, we asked our Facebook readers for your memories of Jan. 28, 1986. That post reached more than 48,000 people and was shared 500 times as of Wednesday afternoon.

Read a small selection of the 200 replies, then scroll down for more on the Facebook post itself:

Joey Pearson: “I was living in McCall, winter carnival, and there was a space shuttle ice sculpture on Lake Street...wow, what a memorial that became! Barbara Morgan from McCall was #2 pick and could have been that teacher in space! Kids all watched it on TV at school...horrible day.”

Nancy DeWitt: “I had just graduated from Boise State the prior month. I hadn’t found a job yet, so I was at home watching the launch live, with my new puppy. I was quite shocked when I realized what had happened. I think many Idahoans felt a strong connection to this particular launch because Barbara Morgan had come so close to being the teacher in space.”

Joe Spagnola: “At McCall-Donnelly Elementary watching from Mrs. Morgan’s classroom.”

Mary Ann Stearns Emmons: “I heard it over the radio on my way to work at a mall in Simi Valley, CA. I remember there was a restaurant that had a big screen tv, for those days, and everyone just gathered around watching. Stores were empty. It’s like everyone was in a trance and we were all thinking if we watched the video over and over again our brains might be capable of understanding what we were witnessing. It was incredibly sad....”

Boyd C. Percy: “Working and listening on the radio in the shop. Didn’t realize the totality until getting home and seeing the explosion. The radio broadcast had given hope of survivors.”

Deena Heath: “I lived in NH at the time. Just 50 miles from Christa’s home town of Concord. So much excitement leading up to the launch and such sorrow after the explosion.”

Linda Savage: “New resident of Acampo, Calif. Having coffee prior to going outside in the fog to begin building a horse barn. H ard to believe it has been 30 years. Tragic.”

Robin Nettinga: “Teaching a class of 9th graders at South Middle School. Announcement from the vice principal was devastating.”

Stephanie Smith Rarick: “I was watching in on the TV at work in the waiting area with everyone else. When it exploded, there were some gasps but I honestly thought they were going to pop up in the water and wave to everyone that they were ok. I was young and didn’t think bad things could happen in front of me like that I guess.”

Kyle Rayworth: “Walking to my next class in middle school when the announcement came over the PA. Until 9/11, it was one of the biggest news disasters of our generation.”

Hayley Pine: “I was sitting in my 8th grade middle school science class, watching it with our teachers. I still remember the shock and confusion we felt. What I will never forget is watching my teachers crying. Now as a teacher myself, I understand the importance of that mission. I understand the excitement they must have felt to have one of their peers headed to space. I understand the immense sadness we all felt and still feel when we watch these clips.”


Where were you when it happened? Share your memories and we may republish them for a story later this week:

Posted by Idaho Statesman on Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Related stories from Idaho Statesman