The boss's office was to my right and he was "out" for the day. The large TV was tuned to a news station and as I worked, one ear stayed tuned to what was being said on the network.
The shuttle was being launched. The Challenger was on countdown and I paused to turn to look at the television. A direct line, exhaust streaming from the lower part, the shuttle was powering it's way out of the atmosphere. I watched as that straight line was interrupted, it pitched to one side and disappeared in a ball of flame.
Stunned, I sat in silence. The same silence had engulfed the launch pad's control room. Everyone in the office silently gathered in front of that television and I still remember how quiet we were. There wasn't any chatter or questions. We waited in silence though we knew there was no hope of survivors. In the days that followed, we heard about the lives of the astronauts that were on board. The investigation of the accident was in progress. Films were being studied and later when the faulty "o" ring was blamed, we digested this information. This small part that was a mere pennies in cost had caused the loss of the lives of the crew and the billions of dollars invested in this mission. At least it was quick.
The next shuttle explosion, we were spending the night in Dallas, Texas. February 1, 2003. We packed out clothes back into our suitcases and walked out of the Holiday Inn to the truck. As we pulled out of the parking lot, the news came of the Columbia shuttle exploding on reentry. The radio was warning of parts of that shuttle coming to ground in the Dallas area. As we rolled down the interstate, I couldn't help but watch the sky for parts of the broken shuttle. Days later, parts of the shuttle were recovered around Dallas, TX., Tyler, TX. and Louisiana. We were driving directly into the paths of the debris field. My imagination was in overdrive. I imagined a big hot chunk of metal spearing the cab of the truck impaling us to our seats. The cruise control would keep the speed constant until the truck missed a curve and like two dolls secured by huge stick pins, we would be found among the wreckage of the Columbia parts,another casualty that would be overshadowed by the broadcasts of the lost lives of the astronauts.
I stayed nervous the remainder of that trip.
I'm outta here to get a shower and dressed. The temperatures are promised to be 68 degrees. I plan to spend some time outside. I have a reclining chair that will make the perfect place to observe all the yard work the hubby plans on doing today.