Jan. 28 brought back some old and unhappy memories--the Kennedy assassination and the jet crash in San Diego.
I remember the shock and aftershocks. At work my thoughts turned to 10-year-old Russ and 8-year-old Megan, our kids. They both had talked about how neat it was that a teacher would be on the Challenger and would actually televise lessons from space. I thought about the shuttle and how that shape had become so familiar to children in models, toys, cutout books, etc. It has fashioned a connection between now and the future for us and our kids. On the way home, I wondered what I could tell them, how to make a terrible situation somehow better. As I walked into our living room, Russ and Megan were seated firmly in front of the television. Both had puffy eyes and red faces. The terrible explosion had just been replayed. I hoped I was up to the task of trying to put a parental bandage on a difficult-to-understand hurt. Russ looked up and said, "Dad, the teacher was killed on the Challenger with the other six astronauts." The reality hit me again and I tried to start by saying, "Yes, I know. Let's talk about it."