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World’s eyes riveted to a Florida winter day

On seven souls bearing a cross-section of the USA

In a gleaming white spaceship lifting off over the ocean

White smoke puffball of a sudden distant explosion

What happened? Why did you have to go like that?

What happened to you came at the drop of a hat

You took our dreams higher and higher

You rode into the sky on a beam of light and a pillar of fire


What went wrong?


We waited so long

You carried a dream like a torch held high

Then you became seven stars in the night sky

Teacher, doctor, engineer—who thought

That any kind of person could be an astronaut

When I was a kid I’d see people like you in the comics or the movies

And my eyes would never move when I saw it on live TV

How many other kids watched the screen all over the country

And said Mom someday that’s gonna be me

You took our dreams higher and higher

You rode into the sky on a beam of light and a pillar of fire

Challenger ...

You put your lives into the hands of fate

And made it all the way to heaven’s gate

You slipped free of the world on the way into space

You slipped free of the bonds of earth to touch G-d’s face

From all of us who knew what you were worth

From all of us who dreamed of getting off planet earth

From all of us though we may never have met you

We bid you goodbye but we never will forget you

Challenger ...

© 2024 The Hesh Inc.

"Challenger 1986" - AI art by The Hesh Inc.
Do you remember where you were when this happened?

The Challenger disaster was one of those events, like the assassination of President Kennedy or the moon landing, where you remember where you were when you heard the news. I was serving in the Israel Defense Forces at the time, doing guard duty at a base in the northern part of the country.

Admittedly, the geographic distance put me at a remove from the grief that people in the United States were experiencing. But I remembered how much I was a fan and follower of the space program when I was a kid, and this disaster made me very sad, even on the other side of the world. Sad enough to want to write a song, of course.

This came during a particularly prolific period in my songwriting history. The lyrics came pretty quickly, after reading the accounts in the newsmagazines of the event itself and of President Reagan's consolation speech. I composed the music on the piano the next time I was home on leave; it was influenced by some of ELO's midtempo ballads from that band's Out of the Blue era. It was only fitting, considering the 'space' theme of that album's cover. Never recorded or performed, though. RIP to the Space Shuttle Challenger's crew:

Christa McAuliffe

Gregory Jarvis

Judy Resnik (first Jewish astronaut!)

Dick Scobee

Ronald McNair

Michael Smith

Ellison Onizuka

May their memories be for a blessing.

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