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25 years ago today I was sitting in Mr Lawrence’s 2nd period geometry class, my senior year of high school. It was the end of class when we were allowed to start our homework and listen to the radio, which was my responsibility since I sat next to it. I switched it on and was instantly annoyed that they were playing news instead of music. It took nearly a minute for it to sink into my brain what they were saying. “The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff today …” It was the quietest day of high school I ever experienced. We went class to class, radio to radio, some rooms had tvs, most of my teachers abandoned their lessons that day and just let us sit and learn from real life. It was the third time that real life disrupted school, the first was Mt St Helens, the second was when President Reagan was shot. I’m sure there were more, but those are the ones that stand out. In terms of loss of life, it’s wasn’t a tragedy on a grand scale, 7 people, more than that have died for lesser causes. I know we all remember 9/11/2001, which is hopefully the greatest tragedy we’ll ever have to experience. But I remember the very first Shuttle flight in 1981, I was late to school because I stayed home, against mom’s orders, to watch it. It made me cry in awe and excitement and pride. It’s hard to watch your heroes die, something that has happened all too often since that day in 1986. Sometimes it is easier to mark time by our tragedies, rather than our triumphs. So, yeah, I guess the point of this is that I’m old, sentimental nerd. It’s just something that was on my mind this morning.
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Jan 28, 2011