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Front row: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair

Back row: Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik

Thirty years ago today what started as a moment of excitement and hope turned into shock and tragedy when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven of it’s crew. According to Wikipedia 17% of Americans watched the launch live because of the presence of Christa McAuliffe, who was going to be the very first teacher in space. 

I was a twenty-one-year old preschool teacher at the time, and Christa was such a role model. We were all so excited and we had the tv on so the kids could watch the takeoff. When the shuttle exploded it took us a couple of minutes to realize what happened. Thankfully our four-year-olds were too young to understand. It’s one of those moments in history that if you witnessed it, you’ll never forget. Three decades later these seven brave souls still inspire and capture our imaginations.

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“The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.'”

~ President Ronald Reagan ~

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