Friday, January 28, 2011

Where were you?

Twenty-five years ago this morning, the shuttle Challenger took off on an historic mission that would leave the country struck with shock and grief.

I was a third grade student at a small Christian school, and I remember being very excited that day to see the first school teacher, Christa McAuliffe, go into space.  Our classroom had a tv set up for us to watch this historical moment.  We prayed as a class for the safety of the astronauts and then excitedly watched the countdown.  We all wondered and nervously chatted aloud, "Would we be brave enough to fly in a space shuttle?"  It all seemed so exciting and surreal as we watched a teacher head off into space.  (We were getting to watch tv in school, too, which just seemed extra exciting.)

Just seconds into take-off, something went terribly wrong.  Our teacher watched in horror along with the rest of us as we tried to decipher what had happened.  A large explosion...falling debris...surely it couldn't be...

One of the many blessings I remember of being at a Christian school happened that instant:  our teacher had us all huddle into a circle and we prayed for those astronauts, for their families, and for all those involved in the apparent tragedy that had just occurred.  We prayed first for a miracle--that somehow they would survive; we prayed for God's comfort for the families of the astronauts; and we prayed for wisdom for our president and leaders.

This was a lesson that my parents had been instilling in me at home, but that day, God used my teacher and the other students in my class to affirm in my mind that in all trials and tragedies, turning to God is what must happen in my life.  Only HE can provide true refuge, comfort, and peace in light of tragedy.

Psalm 46: 1-2
God is our refuge and strength,
   a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
   though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.

President Ronald Regan gave a stirring speech that night in place of his State of the Union Address.
He concluded with these words:

"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 goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth' to 'touch the face of God'."


Anonymous said...

Amen to that. Thanks for sharing! What a blessing to know that the God Who controls all things loves us the most, as I tell Titus every day. :) --Jess

Marissa Kaye said...

on this day... i was in my moms belly ;)

Katrina @ Pics, Pages & Purls said...

hmmm...I don't remember it. I was 4 1/2 years old. But what a great lesson about our God who has everything under control and loves us.

James and Christen said...

I don't remember the actual day of the explosion but I remember being VERY shocked because a man from our church was one of the teacher finalists that was considered for the flight. We were all so thankful he wasn't on board.

Mel said...

My memories of that day are a lot like yours...except I was in 2nd grade. :) Funny that though I was in a public school, we still prayed for the astronauts and their families after the explosion. Definitely a day I'll never forget.

Sarah said...

Great reminder... thanks for sharing!

H-Mama said...

definitely one of those 'where were you moments'... i was a lil' kid in the hospital with a terrible case of pneumonia. it was the only thing i could watch on tv. so, so sad.

Amanda said...

As I read this I thought... ah, I miss the good ole days. (!!!) What the hay? I was in third grade too. Just seemed like a simpler time I think. Well, that and I just love Reagan. But yes, I can totally remember that moment when it happened... watching my teacher cry... I think that scarred me most of all.

Be blessed!

une autre mère said...

I totally remember that day. We watched it from my 1st grade classroom and I remember seeing the explosion and the teacher suddenly shutting it off and acting strange. We were kinda young to really grasp all that was happening. But I remember my parents talking about it that evening. Reagan's address was perfect. What ever happened to leaders like that?