The Corner

The Disaster

I’ve had a lump in my throat all morning. I remember watching the Challenger explode in 1986. I was walking home from my South Florida high school, where we’d been released early in the day because we were taking semester finals. Space shuttle launches are so bright you can see them from far away when the skies are clear. I saw the bright light, the white plume, and then–poof. It was obvious something was wrong. I raced home, turned on the TV, and learned the awful news. My parents were working, and one of the worst feelings was not being able to talk to anybody. I couldn’t even reach people by phone. This morning was different. Everybody was here, and after watching the stark footage for a few minutes, my son asked if we could go play with his knights and his castle. It was good therapy.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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