So there I was, sitting in a classroom, bored out of my mind, when all of a sudden the PA system woke up with a screech. Someone in the administrative offices had a TV on and was watching the Shuttle Challenger launch, saw it explode, and turned on the PA system and stuck the microphone up to the TV speaker. The classroom sorta froze for a few seconds, since nobody knew what was going on; the audio of course started up in mid sentence. When the speaker finally said something along the lines of “the space shuttle has exploded,” several students, myself included, packed up our stuff and bolted from the room, dashing towards the library. A whole lot of other kids and teachers had the same idea, with the result that hundreds tried to pack in to see the one TV in the place.
Boy, did that day *suck.*
Here’s the live CNN coverage. Note that the reporter is speaking when Challenger explodes… and, unlike current news reporting practice, he shuts up. Rather than a stream of unending blather, he lets the story speak for itself for a moment. Granted, he was likely shocked, but still…
Here’s some “behind the scenes at CNN:”
Here’s one hour of CNN coverage, from 11:00 to 12:00 (the explosion is at about 11:38):
And from 12:00 to 1:00:
It’s difficult to say that there was a bright spot in that day, but if there was, it was President Reagan. Originally scheduled to deliver the State of the Union address that night, he instead delivered a necessarily hastily-written address to the nation on Challenger… surely one of the great speeches in American political history.