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    Posted January 28, 2011 by
    Los Altos, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN30: Challenger Explosion

    Challenger Explosion Memory


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     CLoveday's 13th birthday was on the day of the Challenger explosion. 'We watched in shock as it exploded over and over again. I don't remember being able to find anything else to watch on the TV since this was such a huge thing - and I couldn't turn it off because I was incredibly hopeful that someone would survive.' Being a 13 year old girl, she, like many others followed the story of Christa McAuliffe, the high school teacher that was on the shuttle. When I was still a teenager, I dreaded my birthday because the accident would come up, making it really hard to be excited about having a birthday. I continue to mark the loss of the Challenger crew every year.'
    - nancyt3, CNN iReport producer

    January 28, 1986 was my 13th birthday.  I was home sick with the flu and so my mom thought I would enjoy watching the Challenger launch since my class at school was going to be watching it and reporting on it for one of our assignments, like many other schools.  I remember being propped up in my parents' bed so excited to be watching TV and so excited to be watching Christa McAuliffe in particular.  There had been so much excitement, even here in California, that we all knew it was a big deal.  It was incredible to be able to watch all the preflight activities that took place - including the drive out to the launch pad, etc.  I remember watching the take-off with my mom and being so excited and then it all went horribly wrong.  The explosion and the broadcasters trying to make sense of it, the hope that there were survivors.  Watching the launch and explosion over and over again in sheer horror.  Every year on my birthday now I remember the Challenger, Christa McAuliffe and all the astronauts that lost their lives on my 13th birthday.  I became instantly superstitious of the number 13 and haven't been able to watch a shuttle launch since.

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