The space shuttle Challenger lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida 22 years ago. Hundreds on the ground, including Christa McAuliffe's family, stared in disbelief as the shuttle exploded in a plume of smoke and fire. We were among the milllons watching at home as the tragedy unfolded on live television. My attention was riveted as were the cameras, on Christa's Mom and Dad. They looked puzzled and did not seem to comprehend what had happened. Officials came to the stands to escort them away. My heart broke for them.
In the movie The Right Stuff, filmed just three years before, Chuck Yeager as played by Sam Shepard says, "You think a monkey knows he's sittin' on top of a rocket that might explode? These astronaut boys they know that, see? Well, I'll tell you something, it takes a special kind of man to volunteer for a suicide mission, especially one that's on TV."
It has always bothered me that Christa McAuliffe left behind two little girls.
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