Sunlight Shining Through Cloud

Where Were You When …

Posted on: January 28, 2016

There are historical markers in my life just are there are in yours. Mine include:

  • The Kennedy Assassination — I was in 6th Grade French class when the news was announced over the loudspeaker. My then-crush, Dionne, was sobbing in the next row. That’s how I knew it was important.
  • Watergate — the beginning of my obsession with politics.
  • Exxon Valdez — the spoiling of the waters in my precious Alaska. I took it personally. Still do.
  • 9-11 — the hotel staff was huddled around the lobby TV. I glanced at the screen on the way out the door. A plane hit the WTC. My first impression: “It’s New York. We’re tough. We’ll work it out.”

I’m a bit surprised that I haven’t chosen to write about the deeper meanings for each of these events before. Even more surprised am I that 30 years have passed and I’ve never written about the Shuttle Challenger disaster.

I was, at that time, the Marketing and Programming Manager for the big cable system in Anchorage. I was beset with union votes, expansion woes, Mike Tyson fights, and the press queries that go with all of these.

On this morning thirty years ago, the TV was on in the bedroom as I got dressed for that day’s work. The nascent CNN was covering all of NASA’s launches and I watched them all because I like the adventurous aspects of science, space and space travel. A minute after launch, when the words, “Go at throttle up” were spoken, I knew what would happen.

What did happen, of course, was instantly recognizable as anomalous, to say the least. It was visually horrifying.

And I stood there and watched, and said to myself: “It’s going to be a really bad day.”

I was instantly ashamed of myself.

Seven lives had been snuffed out. I wasn’t thinking about their loved ones. I was thinking about the press calls I would be fielding throughout that day.

If I could paint this damning story in a positive light, it would be to say that I learned, in that moment, to think outside of myself. Sure, I’m important. But I am not alone.

ChallengerCrew

 

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2 Responses to "Where Were You When …"

Very nice article Fred! I can remember where i was when this happened, in a hospital er, cleaning rooms at work, we stopped to watch the launch… & a moment later… Gone…. It was a very sad moment, to stop & think of what they were thinking when they were waving to the crowd b4 they entered the shuttle….I wondered if any of them for a moment, got a feeling they shouldn’t be there, or if they had a super natural peace knowing they were in Gods hand going from here to eternity, literally… I wonder how people these days take life for granted, & how some find little value in others lives, by killing them because they weren’t going fast enough for them in the wrong lane… & I wonder, will people ever again truly realize how precious life is? The word says, the world will grow darker & darker…. I think its time for us to shine a little brighter before we all are unable to see what is truly important anymore…TM

Reblogged this on zuzusays and commented:
Only a few people in my life commented about this day. TM’s reply said it all.

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