Years ago, Dad asked me if there was a JFK assassination moment in my life. One where everybody in my generation could say, instantly, where they had been, what they’d been doing. How they felt.
I do not know anyone in my generation who cannot tell me where they were when the Challenger exploded.
I was on my way to school with Dad, in our little old orange Datsun, when it was announced on the radio. I couldn’t believe it. Some part of me still can’t. I went in to wait for the school doors to open, the first one there, and minutes later a few other kids came in talking about it. They talked a lot. I didn’t. I still can’t without tearing up. Twenty-five years later, I’m still shocked by it.
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.