I distinctly remember where I was 23 years ago today when I learned the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded on lift-off. Growing up in the town closet to the Kennedy Space Center, almost everyone had some sort of connection to NASA. Usually, we would have a "fire-drill" around launches so that all students could go outside and watch. However, by the time January 1986 rolled around, Space Shuttle launches were so common that we weren't released for the Challenger launch. I'll never forget the principal making the announcement over the PA.
President Reagan spoke later that day:
“The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye and ’slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’”