A Life’s Challenge

I remember that day in January 1986. I had just graduated from Art Center College of Design just two days prior. I was confident and hopeful for what the future would bring me. Young, naive, and with bright eyes, I was only 24 at the time. Nothing ‘bad’ had ever occurred to me or within my life, or had emotionally affected me in a negative manner. I was protected by my parents, my friends, and by not having to worry about a job for money. Not having to worry about anything, because I had everything in my life that I ever needed or wanted. I was taken care of, the world was wonderful, and I was already experiencing all it had to offer.

The specific date was January 28, just two days prior I had experienced the most monumental and exciting moment of my life. Over the past three years and eight months I had finally earned, through much sweat and many tears, a B.S. from college.

On this day, and at the Pasadena house, I gathered with my close friends to watch the launch of the space shuttle, Challenger. This type of craft was still very ‘new’ in the world of NASA space exploration and every single launch was viewed on television and watched in-person by millions around the globe. These launches were monumental and very significant in our lives. Up until the space shuttle, space exploration was achieved solely through rockets, which themselves were significant. The technology was incredible and we, the entire United States of America, were cheering on the unparalleled progress mankind had made.

Unfortunately this day, January 28, 1986 would soon become a very dark and horrifically tragic day in our American history. For myself and the world watching, the worst part was experiencing it LIVE. This was really happening. I didn’t read about the event in my History books while in school as some terrible past event that would shatter the world of science and humanity. It wasn’t tragic for just me, it was tragic for everyone.

It happened. The second space shuttle ever manufactured had just exploded after being launched, before all our eyes young and old, on LIVE television. What just happened?, we all thought. I could not comprehend the magnitude of the situation other than knowing that what we saw on television could have in no way been good. This can’t be. The horrific event would no doubt be headed to print into American History. It was a difficult thing to emotionally fathom, and it affected us all.

It was a beautiful, clear and sunny day in Southern California. I remember seeing the sun’s light shine through the large old trees, and how beautiful the ground looked as the tree’s leaves cast their shadow onto the grass. I remember watching as the cast shadows moved gently in sync with the light and comfortable breeze. I remember being with Mike and Lex, all sitting on the floor of the Pasadena Living Room, and I knew then that life as we knew it had just begun.