January 28, 1986
I woke up with a mean hangover from a party that ended just a few hours before. In other words, it was a normal morning. I was stationed on a remote US Air Force base near the DMZ in South Korea. There were maybe 1,000 US airmen on this sprawling base filled with indigenous foreigners. I was 20. The Challenger explosion occurred in the middle of the night where I was. When I saw the news on the only English TV station we had (military TV) I just sat and watched it explode over and over. As a kid growing up in Florida and watching the old Apollo missions lift off into space from my front yard, this event moved me. It was my JFK assassination moment. Before 9/11, it was the tragic American moment of my lifetime. Around noon, I contacted our base commander and asked whether we were going to put our flag at half-staff. A half-hour later, it was.
Time just gets away from us. All of us. Eventually.