Thirty-one years ago the Space Shuttle Challenger ended in disaster. I was 17 years old, and a student at Health Careers High School. This shuttle launch was special to me because it was the first time NASA was going to send a civilian teacher into space. While Christa McAuliffe was selected, many teachers applied for the adventure. One of those teachers taught at my high school. Out of thousands of applicants, our teacher made it to the final group. He was so close that he had been assigned one of those popular, light blue spacesuits the astronauts would wear. It was displayed in the lobby of our school. It was there on the day of the disaster. My fellow students and I thought it was the end of space exploration. Fortunately, we were young, and we were wrong.
There would be other shuttles, and yes, other disasters. But, we learned that America doesn’t quit. Though we may, at times, get it wrong, we don’t quit. I’m proud to be an American. I’m proud to be a fighter that doesn’t quit. Back in 1961, President John F. Kennedy set forth the plans of sending people into space. He said it, and we did it. The Challenger was indeed a challenge-in more ways than one. But we met that challenge because, as Americans, we don’t quit. What challenge will you set forth to overcome? If you say it, and you believe it-YOU CAN DO IT.
Thank you, President Kennedy, Challenger, and crew, for giving us a great example of how facing a challenge is a step closer to our greatest dreams!