I woke up this morning with a bit of chest congestion and a slightly sore throat. It was not enough to stay home from work over, but 25 years ago today, I skipped school over similar symptoms. I remember this, because I remember staying home from school and turning on the TV and watching the space shuttle launch. And then watching it explode. Odd how you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing at these moments.
On my way to work this morning, I heard a touching memorial to one of the Challenger crew, Ron McNair, offered by his brother Carl. I recommend reading or listening to the whole thing, but here’s an excerpt:
As youngsters, a show came on TV called Star Trek. Now, Star Trek showed the future — where there were black folk and white folk working together. I just looked at it as science fiction, 'cause that wasn't going to happen, really.
But Ronald saw it as science possibility. So how was a colored boy from South Carolina — wearing glasses, never flew a plane — how was he gonna become an astronaut? But Ron was one who didn't accept societal norms as being his norm, you know? That was for other people. And he got to be aboard his own Starship Enterprise.
This photo from The Big Picture of teacher Christa McAuliffe shows her excitement over traveling to space. She was wearing that grin in pretty much every photo.
Teachers are real-life superheroes, in my opinion. McAuliffe was just hero enough to be chosen to teach an important lesson from an enormous classroom.
Thank you, Ron, Christa, and crew, for your courage and for your legacy.