Friday, January 28, 2011
The ‘Challenger’ Disaster
Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. One conclusion reached about why the disaster took place is because the Challenger’s launch was allegedly rushed. Why would it have been rushed? That day — January 28, 1986 — was supposed to have been the day that President Ronald Reagan gave that year’s State of the Union address to Congress. And Reagan was well-known for manipulating spectacles to bolster his presidential image. I get the idea that the Challenger launch was rushed so that Reagan could use the event as American can-do dressing for his speech that night. (After the disaster, Reagan postponed his address until the following week.) Whenever I'm reminded of the Challenger, I wonder if those six astronauts — plus one civilian elementary-school teacher — may have given their lives because Reagan wanted to lend a speech of his some patriotic pizzaz.