I remember running to the house from the school bus stop, making my way to the television as fast as I could. My brother and I were alone in the house, my parents would be home in a few hours. Back then there weren’t many television channels, so I found it very quickly. I stared at the set for at least an hour, watching with great intent.
There were no cartoons to watch, no children’s programming. Just a few seconds of video than ran in a loop. They played it over and over, like the way a child plays with a new toy on Christmas morning. I watched every bit of it in silence. I had to see the video before it really hit me.
It was after dinner when I went to my room, wallpapered with spaceships and moon maps from National Geographic. The poster-board from my Apollo 13 report was in the closet. My desk was somewhere under the Star Wars toys, sci-fi novels and random collection of childhood objects.
Rosewood Middle School went silent shortly after 11:40 a.m., EST, on January 28, 1986. We quietly honored a crew of astronauts we would never meet, a crew of astronauts many of us wanted to be when we grew up. I think it hurts more to think about it today than ever before.
It was January 28, 1986 when I lost the dream of being an astronaut. I was thirteen.