Twenty five years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger, exploded only 73 seconds after take-off, in front of a horrified world-wide audience. I doubt that anybody who was alive to see shuttle explode, will ever forget it. The entire flight crew of seven were killed, with the only African-American on board being Dr. Ronald McNair.
McNair triumphed over extreme poverty in childhood, and attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he developed into a gifted physicist, quickly developing a reputation as an expert in laser physics and molecular spectroscopy. When he was selected to be a team member of the Challenger, it inspired a whole generation of young African-American children that they too could achieve their dreams.
In the years after the tragedy, schools, space programs and streets have been named in McNair’s honor. Several foundations have been established in his name, a scholarship prize for low income children to receive a post-graduate education was named after him, and permanent monuments have been erected in parks to honor his legacy.
However, amNew York today reported that the memory of Ronald McNair is fading, and many of the younger generation, do not know who he was or what he died for, which is a tragedy in itself.
What are you thoughts? Do you know Dr. Ronald McNair’s story?