From the archives: Lest we forget…Enterprise!

by John on January 28, 2016

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. This event had a major impact on my 13 year old self. It was one of the first in a series of tragic world events where I felt completely lost, scared, and confused as to why anything like this could happen. This tragedy still cuts deep and hurts. I still get misty when I see the news clips or when I read the newspaper stories.

My post about the shuttle Enterprise was originally written back in July 2011. While this isn’t specifically about the loss of Challenger, I think it’s the best, and only way I can quietly mark the occasion.

Today, I’ll quietly say a small prayer, remember the souls that were lost, and go about my day. Tonight I’ll spend time with my girls, hug them a bit tighter and remind myself to try just a bit harder let them keep their sense of wonder and awe.


Note: This post was scheduled for today’s launch, however it may not happen due to the weather. I say screw it, I’m posting this bad boy anyway!

“JP come over here, you’re going to miss this and it’s something very important” exclaimed my father as he stood watching the television. “What, what’s going on dad?” I replied. “JP pay attention this is something you’re going to remember for the rest of your life.” “In fact, I don’t want you to ever forget this name, can you remember Enterprise?” he asked. I don’t remember promising that I could, however it’s true I never did forget that moment. A quiet moment shared by a father and son.

Thus began my love affair with planes, the space shuttle, and astronauts. Growing up in Florida trips to Disney become commonplace and at times very expensive, but a trip to Cape Canaveral was always filled with wonder and imagination.

I’ve tried to watch every televised launch and if possible landing. In grade school we’d convince our teachers to turn on the dusty old televisions watching with excitement and anticipation. Today, I’ll watch it on my computer from my desk at work.

I can still tell you exactly where I was when Challenger and Columbia were lost. Seventeen years had elapsed between the events but both had a deep and meaningful impact on me. I had come of age during that period, lulled into not believing the risks involved with that line of work. My life was still ahead of me. I felt that I was not limited by anything. Sadly, those events were a sobering reminder that I needed to be a bit more aware.

So today with the final shuttle mission about to take place, I’m immediately transported to a small house in North Miami and to the small black & white RCA television set and to a father who wants to share a love for aircraft and instill in his son a sense of awe and wonder.

Those feelings I’ll never forget, along with the names Enterprise, Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavor, and

Why do I feel this way after so many years? Well, when you’re asked to make a promise as a five year old, and your hero is the one who’s asking, that’s just something you never forget.

I never forgot Dad, just liked you asked me to…

Godspeed Atlantis!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: