First Major News Story I Remember Living Through as a Child

Inspired by @NumbahTwo, @marginally_amazing, et al.
  1. Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, January 28, 1986
  2. I was born and raised in Titusville, FL
  3. If you've heard of it, it's probably from news reports of shuttle and rocket launches
  4. Or maybe you saw the episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where the character named Titus goes to...well duh...Titusville?
    I have to say it wasn't a very accurate portrayal. Titus went to a dumpy cafe that was waaaayy nicer than any cafes in the real Titusville.
  5. Or maybe you've heard of the two high schools, the good one named Titusville High and the other one?
    Fun fact: The Titusville High mascot is the Terrier because I guess they couldn't think of anything else that started with T. Also, the other school is called Astronaut and they are all high and mighty because they have the cooler school name and more relevant mascot (Eagles).
  6. Or maybe you've heard about our favorite local eatery in the historic downtown area called Kloiber's Kobbler?
    Great sandwiches, signature pasta salad, and delicious cobbler. Sadly, it closed down recently due to health violations. 😢
  7. Or maybe you've heard about our Super Wal-Mart?
    One of the most profitable Wal-Marts in the southeast (or so the legend goes) and also a really fun time on Saturday nights! 🎉🎉
  8. Or just maybe you've heard about our standalone Starbucks?!? It opened last week and we couldn't be more proud of it.
  9. Anyway, I'm from Titusville because my dad worked for NASA. In other words, I'm a NASA brat.
    Not sure if that's a thing, but I'm making it one. I mean, a lot of those NASA kids were actually brats.
  10. He worked on growing plants in microgravity
    This type of thing...
  11. Anyway, it means I have some cool stuff like this floating around my attic...
  12. I was 4 1/2 in January 1986
  13. The morning of Challenger was really cold. I remember that. There was a hard freeze overnight.
    I believe it was in the 30s at launch time in the morning. Basically Antarctica weather for Florida people.
  14. At launch time, my mom was driving the two little boys (@phatmatt222 and his brother) that she babysat to preschool. I didn't go to preschool that year because I was a rebel and also probably because I had social anxiety from a young age.
    Normally I would've been with her, but my brother (15 years old at the time) was home from school. Pretending to be sick probably.
  15. I'm pretty sure we watched the launch on TV because my brother was too sickly (i.e. lazy) to take me outside
    Plus, when you lived in the area, launches were pretty routine
  16. I remember knowing there was something wrong
  17. I remember confusion
  18. I remember everyone's horror
  19. I don't remember many real details
  20. I do remember students from Christa Mcauliffe's school being in attendance at the launch (I'm not positive, but I think they were on site, watching from the bleachers...I distinctly remember their reactions...they thought that's what it was supposed to look like. As did many others, actually)
    I really probably saw this footage years later, but it definitely made a mark on me
  21. Anything beyond these vague outlines of memories were beyond my 4-year-old brain
  22. I don't remember the aftermath
  23. In addition to the magnitude of the human tragedy, I'm sure stress was high for all those associated with NASA
    The shuttle program was shut down for nearly 3 years...I'm sure my dad and others lived with great uncertainty
  24. I do remember the return of the space shuttle...the next launch was when I was in second grade
  25. It was a HUGE DEAL!
  26. Our school all went outside to watch and we had these little signs
    I'm guessing we were supposed to wear green for go...which is pretty uninspired when I think about it, but I guess they were doing the best they could
  27. I could feel the teachers' nervousness, but the launch went off without a hitch
  28. Everyone was relieved
  29. I even made super legit art about it...
    I don't know why I made it a night launch #rebel
  30. In addition to the shuttle thing, second grade turned out to be a big year for me
  31. I pretty much dominated Field Day
  32. Take that, Soviet Union!!
  33. And my main man Carl "Luis" followed my lead in the '88 Olympics
  34. I'm kind of meandering now, but this has been an interesting ride for me
  35. It has got me thinking though...
  36. My oldest son is exactly the same age I was at the time of Challenger. Down to the month.
  37. Which means Orlando, Dallas, Alton Sterling, or Philando Castile could be his first memory like this
    Or Istanbul or Baghdad or on and on and on and on
  38. I don't think these particular tragedies will be his first big memory, because they really are not on our televisions very much
  39. But they could be
  40. And that really sucks
  41. I really really really really hope it won't be something like this, but I'm afraid it will be
  42. Because, while Challenger was a terrible human tragedy, at least it was the tragic result of us as a people striving for more. Of us trying to create and explore.
  43. At least it was not a nihilistic display of violence or inhumanity
  44. I hope we can do better for my son and all the children out there
  45. Because, as things stand, the thought of what could be yet to come for them leaves me feeling, well...
  46. 💔