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Remembering Challenger 25 years later: Where were you?

Just before noon on January 28, 1986, millions watched with excitement as the space shuttle Challenger lifted off from its Florida launch pad.  Many of those watching were children as schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe was on board.   Seconds later, the excitement turned to horror as the Challenger exploded, killing the seven astronauts. (Click here to read more)

We would like to know where you were that sad day, what you recall and any other thoughts you would like to share.  Please click on comment to add your thoughts.  We may publish them here or use them on Eyewitness News.



Kim M.

I remember this perfectly. I was in 4th grade at Center Grove School in Randolph, NJ and we all were watching. We might have been to young to be emotionally involved with the magnitude of the tragedy, but I will never forget the sadness and the silence. We were told to write an essay about the Challenger and mine won a contest because it showed emotion. However, now, as a 33 year-old, I understand a lot more how emotional and tragic this really was.


I was in the hospital recovery from surgery.My friend called me and told to turn on the television.I could not believe that this has happened.My room was right at the nurse's station.The doctors,nurses and everyone else was in my room.The tears were streaming down the faces of everyone.People kept in and of my room all day.It is something that will stay with me.When Jan 28th comes each year I say a prayer.

Erik Stone

When I Was A Student At BOCES/Walden School On January 28, 1986, At The Age Of Only 5, The Space Shuttle Challenger Got Exploded, After Taking Off From The Kennedy Space Center In The State Of Florida.


I was in my mid 20's....working part-time while going to the university...I still remember a friend of my boss coming in and telling me the Challenger had exploded....it's one of those moments that lives with you forever....this morning, 25 years later, I shared my feelings and showed images of this unforgettable moment in US history to my social studies students. So hard to believe it has been 25 years and one's eyes still flood with tears as if had just happened.

Sue Browne

I was in the office. A group of us were listening to the liftoff on the radio. We cheered initally and then slumped into stunned silence.


I was in 6th grade at Columbus Elementary School in New Rochelle, NY and was watching it live on TV. One of the 6th grade teachers at my school had applied to be the teacher on the Challenger. It is a day I will never forget as long as I live.

Holly Bonner

I was in the third grade. We were watching the shuttle launch live. I remember the expressions on my teachers faces when the shuttle exploded. They quickly shut off the tv and wheeled it out of the classroom. My teacher came back, sank in her chair and cried. It wasn't until I got home from school that I really understood what happened. A few years later my parents took me to Cape Canaveral to visit the Astronaut Memorial and the experience came full circle.

Ingrid Brusky

I remember being in class in North Dover Elementary School in Dover, NJ. We combined our 4th and 5th grade classes into one class so that we could all watch Christa McAuliffe be launched into space. Everyone was excited and was looking forward to seeing her teach from space.
It was my best friend's birthday as well. We watched as they got ready and waved to the cameras, cheered as the Challenger lifted off and then absolute silence when it exploded. I will never forget that eerie silence. Then I began to cry because we knew her class was watching, all the astronauts parents were watching, the crowd was sobbing. Our poor teachers weren't sure what to do. I don't remember much after that, I was so stunned. I just remember wanting to go home and hug my Mom and Dad and thinking of what an awful thing to have happen on my best friend's birthday. We gathered to witness history and wound up witnessing a tragedy.

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