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The Tragedy of the Space Shuttle Challenger

February 02, 1986

On Tuesday I announced to my second period class at Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School that the space shuttle exploded 1 minute and 12 seconds after liftoff. As I read the typed message I was stunned as if slapped in the face by a trusted friend.

Trying to confront my grief as well as explain the significance of the tragedy to 11 adolescents, one 13-year-old boy inquired, "Mr. Thal, why do we go into space, anyway?"

Immediately I responded, "Why did you come out of your mother's womb?"

Gus came back with an astute observation, "To grow!"

"Gus," I said, "that's why we go into space."

In any endeavor man has encountered he has run into adversities that have tried his mettle, and from those obstacles he has matured. We will learn from the mistakes that caused this disastrous event as we learned from the men and women who died building our railroads, freeways, and communication systems. It will be in their memory, the crew of the Challenger, that we persevere and continue our growth into space.



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