Like so many Americans, I remember exactly where I was 30 years ago today. I was on my way to a story as a local news reporter in Miami with one of my favorite cameramen, Kevin Raphael, when the Challenger exploded. We had the radio on and heard reports of the tragedy as we drove.
In 73 seconds, everything changed. The nation looked to the sky as tragedy unfolded — the ghastly smoke streams in the air, as spectators and the families of the shuttle members watched in horror in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
June Scobee Rogers vividly remembers the day, tears in her eyes as she recalls Jan. 28, 1986. Her husband, Commander Dick Scobee was on board the flight, and she stood next to Steven McAuliffe, whose wife Christa was set to become the first teacher in space.
“The most memorable for me, and I’ve never spoken about it, but now that he’s so much older I think I can,” says June. “[Their son] Scott McAuliffe sat at the window with his nose against that window, waiting for the launch. And he wouldn’t move. That little boy stood there, glued.”
June vividly remembers each of the 7 crew members; Christa McAuliffe “she just sparkled,” Greg Jarvis was “so much fun,” Judy Resnik was “a great friend,” Ron McNair “a lovely man,” El Onizuka was “the funniest person you’ve ever met,” Mike Smith was Dick’s “teammate” and “a great family man,” and of course, Dick Scobee, always “reaching for the stars.”
They are gone, but never forgotten.
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