Friday, January 28, 2011
Twenty-five years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger blew up after liftoff, killing her crew, including the first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe. This cartoon was my visceral response; a reporter for The Hanford Sentinel, I had talked my editors into letting me draw editorial cartoons too (more on that down the road). The disaster took place on a Tuesday, so I would still have had a full day of reporting duties, and was likely designing and editing the agriculture page as well. I must have drawn this after the workday was over, and the editors put it in the next day's paper. (I believe it won a California Newspaper Publishers Association award.)
Among the touchstones of my life is Apollo 11, the crew of which returned to earth on my seventh birthday; it still gives me chills to imagine humans having walked the moon. So I thought of Challenger as a child might, and responded as a child (me?) would. It was one of the worst experiences to have had to share with others by that point in my life; bitterly funny, since so many even more horrible events have taken place since.