I was in the third grade in 1986, and I wanted to be an astronaut. My teacher, Mrs.G, had applied to be chosen as the first teacher in space. I remember her telling us every detail, and I remember the disappointment when she wasn’t chosen. I remember that cold day when we left our classes to sit on the cafeteria floor, a semi-circle of wide-eyed school kids, as the smell of lunch being prepared wafted from the kitchen. I remember chanting along with the countdown: 4…3…2…1. Our childish voices in unison, growing louder with excitement as we yelled LIFTOFF!! And as that shuttle rose in the sky, confusion. Something was horribly wrong. Now having taught, I can’t imagine what went through the mind of my teacher, how to explain that we had just watched he death of those brave astronauts we had come to know so intimately. I remember the awful silence and the hot tears on my face. My heart was broken.
25 years later it still breaks my heart.
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