Today is the 35th Anniversary of the Challenger Explosion

The crew of the space shuttle challenger

Now you are probably thinking, this isn’t “Disney news,” and you would mostly be right. But I wanted to take a moment to remember the catastrophe that happened 35 years ago. It is Disney related as since this tragedy the Challenger disaster has been immortalized in the American Adventure, and I’m certain that the astronauts and teacher would definitely fit the “Spirit of” statues we see at the end of the show.

The Kennedy Space Center isn’t far from the Walt Disney World Resort so I’m sure there are far more connections that we don’t know about.

Space travel has been made part of EPCOT with Mission Space. Education continues at EPCOT, for now, and I really wanted to remember those we lost 35 years ago today.

If you are older, like me, I’m sure you will remember January 28, 1986 well. Many of us tuned in to watch the Space shuttle Challenger lift off. It was a special mission as it was carrying a civilian, teacher Christa McAuliffe, was going to be the first teacher in space. Many teachers across the country tried for the spot. McAuliffe was going to teach a lesson from space and schools across the country were tuned into the launch.

McAuliffe was one of several aboard the shuttle. Astronauts Michael Smith, Francis Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis and Judith Resnick also perished in the tragedy.

Those unfamiliar with the event might remember it from The American Adventure montage with the “Golden Dreams” song:


In this video of the finale, posted by WDWNT on Youtube, you can see the crew at the 2:43 mark. But there are so many amazing moments in the montage.
I don’t care how many times I see this finale I cry every time. I’m literally crying now writing this post. I never go to The American Adventure without tissues ready.

Thankfully tragedies like the Challenger explosion, Apollo 1 and Space Shuttle Columbia haven’t damped the ideas of what could be out there. Disney does keep this alive with Mission Space and likely with the new Space 220 Restaurant.

But to me they and other heroes and pioneers like them are kept alive by The American Adventure, the statuary, American Heritage Gallery, and the paintings around the rotunda area. I hope that Disney doesn’t change those things.

To wrap up I just wanted to re-share the poem ‘High Flight’ that President Ronald Reagan read after the disaster. It was written by John Gillespie Magee Jr., a Canadian pilot and poet:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew –
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

It all matters to me and this is my blog, so I wanted to mention it today.

What do you think? Comment and let us know!

Source: WDWNT Youtube, National Poetry Day Site, Orlando Sentinel

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