Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | January 28, 2016

To Slip The Surly Bonds Of Earth . . .

shuttleJanuary 28th, 1986. I remember it well. How can it be that 30 years have gone by already? I came home from work, made an egg salad sandwich, and sat on the sofa to eat lunch and watch the news. They were discussing the space shuttle Challenger, and it didn’t seem like the typical noon news. It became quickly apparent that something was wrong. In short order, I learned that the spacecraft had exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all aboard. I was dumbstruck. An hour later I still sat on the sofa with the egg salad sandwich in my lap, not a single bite taken out of it.

Hours later, President Reagan gave one of the most comforting speeches ever made to a nation in shock and in sorrow. You can read the remarks in their entirety here: What will most be remembered from the speech, though, is the final, compelling line (taken from a poem by an American aviator in the Canadian Airforce in 1941, John Magee, Jr.):

We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”


  1. I remember that day. Well. The news broke in the morning in New Zealand – it had happened overnight for us. I have not forgotten either that or the 2003 Challenger disaster, another overnight matter here. My wife (listening to talkback radio on earpieces) decided to wake me up with the news. She knew it was important.

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