Today we’re remembering another tragedy that happened 25 years ago in the blue skies above Florida. The space shuttle Challenger blasted off from the launch pad with hopes, dreams, and expectations, but 73 minutes into the flight — it broke apart — killing the crew– and shocking a nation.
One of the most touching speeches about that disaster came from then President Ronald Reagan. Here are two excerpts:
President Ronald Reagan speech on The Challenger Disaster January 28, 1986
For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, ‘Give me a challenge and I’ll meet it with joy.’ They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.
The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured 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 the journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’