Twenty-five years ago today, I was working for a small software company in Melbourne, FL. It was freezing that morning and I remember laughing at my office mate as she came running in from the cold since she hadn't brought a jacket with her. We almost always went outside to watch the launches, but she said that she heard on the radio that the launch was canceled due to the cold weather. We were working in our office when another co-worker came running in from outside and said the shuttle had exploded. We didn't really believe it until we walked outside and saw the split trails. We held out hope that the crew had somehow managed to survive, but it wasn't to be. Everyone was in complete shock as the news spread.
My Dad spent most of his career working for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, so the Space Program has always played a big part in our family. He was still working there in 1986 and witnessed the Challenger disaster up close. I know it affected him greatly.
The Orlando Sentinel republished Dana Summer's editorial cartoon about the Challenger today. It really captured what everyone was feeling with the tear rolling down the shuttle's "face" and the seven doves rising out of the cargo bay: Space Shuttle Challenger Editorial Cartoon