Over the next few months and years, the family members of the crew of shuttle Challenger flight 51L dealt with their grief. With the support of family and friends, as well as people worldwide who joined in the grieving process, they lived day to day, and though they will never forget, they managed to continue with their lives.
As a tribute to the memories of their loved ones, the families helped form the Challenger Organization, which provide resources for students, teachers, and parents for educational purposes. Included in these resources are 42 Learning Centers in 26 states, Canada, and the UK which offer a two-room simulator, consisting of a space station, complete with communications, medical, life, and computer science equipment, and a mission control room patterned after NASA's Johnson Space Center and a space lab ready for exploration.
For many, the Challenger disaster was a kind of life-altering event, as the assassination of President Kennedy was for an older generation. Many of us will always remember where we were and what we were doing when we witnessed or heard about the explosion. Most of us consider the lost crewmembers to be heroes.
The evening of the explosion, President Reagan said it well, "The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us in the way in which they lived their lives. We'll 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 bounds of Earth and touched the face of God."