Friday, January 28, 2011

Twenty five years ago

I spent the day in Shreveport, part of an audit team doing a final review of our utility client's  financial statement workpapers.

During the morning a rumor buzzed through the office - something had happened to the space shuttle. The rumor ebbed and flowed throughout the day.

There was no You-tube, no cell phones, no internet. Someone in the building had access to a television, but  essentially there was an information blackout, with newscasters as puzzled as we were.

Was it the shuttle or the booster rocket that had problems? Did the mission continue? Was there a splashdown? Were there survivors? School rooms across the country had been tuned in to watch the "first teacher" blast off to space. Space flights were still a big deal.

It is hard to describe the void of information. The shock was similar to the events of September 11, 2001, of course on a smaller scale. But in 2001 we all knew, instantly, what had happened, just not why. In 1986 it was hours before we even knew the "what."

Our group finished up and in the evening flew from Shreveport to Corpus Christi, the location of the next day's assignment. For some reason I thought people at the airports would know something more about the shuttle. Nope.

Watching the evening news in my Corpus Christi hotel room, it was finally confirmed that the shuttle had exploded and all had perished.

What a day. What pioneers our astronauts are.

No comments: