In honor of this anniversary oif the disaster, here is my tribute to Challenger, written within an hour of the explosion...
Red Sky in Mourning Glory
By Midge Baker (nee Clark) (c) January 28, 1986,
Through oblate spheroid of television glass,
Darkly and lightly in shades of black - white- grey,
I await the takeoff with uncounted unseen others.
Ruddy flames blaze sparking the fledgling’s tail -
Merging, urging Challenger upward on her high flung quest.
Inside her, I know, are The Seven;
Groping, seeking, thrusting towards Heaven’s own portal,
Their purpose embodied in the name of their craft.
Telemetry from Mission Control continues
As thousands watch, politely bored.
This launch has been perfect, like the others before it.
Perfect…routine; no need for concern…
Gasp! Shock! Horror soul-filling as Challenger
EXPLODES in colors of flaming fireball!
For a span of time the masses of debris continue their struggle upwards,
Paths separating , but trying for more altitude still.
Then gravity grabs them in its greedy maw, pulling them back.
THUS to those who Challenge the skies!
Never the cocoon, the emergence
The butterfly soaring on sunlit wings.
Dead. All dead. No one could survive that…
But I put it to you that they have not died in vain.
Look at the company they keep!
Sir Frances Drake…Magellan…Will Rogers and Wiley Post…
And all the unsung pioneers
Who died to open history’s frontiers.
Let us not disappoint them
Nor shame The Seven with our planet bound fears.
Let us go on Challenging, seeking,