[The following is what I typed beginning at 8:30 am on January 31, 2003, the day we lost the Columbia. I debated posting it after seeing so much posted in the blogosphere, but figured I’d post it today, 2 weeks later, for my own retrieval someday.]
The wife and I are in Fort Worth today so that our moving company can pack our belongings and then move our stuff into storage tomorrow (we’ve sold our house finally).
We woke up this morning, a little late, around 8:00. The movers were showing up around 8:30, so we started getting ready quickly. All of a sudden, the dog started barking, and we heard a loud echoing boom.
We didn’t think too much about it, other than a quick flash of ‘was that a bomb?’ and then we dismissed it as construction noises and went about our morning.
At 8:40, the movers arrived and I made a cup of coffee.
9:00 am: My neighbors called and asked if we knew the big news… I said “what news?” (remember that I don’t have internet access without dialup, and I’ve turned off the cable service in the house.)
The neighbor said that the space shuttle Columbia exploded over Dallas. I immediately turned on the one radio that was easy to get plugged in (our 1940’s era tube driven shortwave and AM radio) and tuned in 1080 AM – KRLD.
9:10 am: Ugh. We’ve confirmed that the shuttle exploded and are now listening to the reports… I’m sort of glad that we don’t have pictures to look at of what might have happened… I still remember the sinking feeling when I watched the Challenger mission fail during lift off. I was a school kid at the time, and we were dilligently watching the first ‘teacher’ go into space. Man, those feelings are all coming back…
10:00 am: The radio personality has been reading off the names of the astronauts, over and over (it’s really sad)… He’s speculating different reasons that this might have happened. I just heard the CBS network news report that they’ve found human body parts near Jasper, TX (that’s in east texas near the Lousiana border). Somebody please tell me why they had to report that on the radio? It’s not good news, but rather just sensationalism.
10:19 am: Listening to a report from Mount Alba, TX given by a waitress at a roadside cafe. She said that there were pieces of the shuttle all over their county.
10:20 am: The CBS network is back on, and it’s sad… NASA has lowered all of their flags to half-mast reportedly. NASA hasn’t given a briefing yet, but that’s confirmation enough that there’s been a terrible tragedy.
10:30 am: A friend that we were supposed to go to dinner with just called to say that he wasn’t going to make it, and then shared with us that he took some classes with the female Astronaut that went the UT Arlington. Ugh… He had fond memories of her: good student, great person…
11:00 am: Can’t write anymore… too much work to do, but I’m sure that there will be some interesting posts in the blogosphere when I return to the ‘net.