25 years ago today: I was sitting in Mr. Gaito’s physics class at Park Ridge High School when the PA came on and the principal announced that the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded. We sat dumbstruck. Mr. Gaito went to his office in the back of the lab, brought out a radio that had been ripped out of the dashboard of a car, wired it to a power outlet, and tuned in the news.
The next morning, I made a black armband and wore it over a white button-down shirt. When Mr. Taylor, my former math teacher, passed me in the hallway, he looked at me and gestured toward the armband and said, “Good.” A moment of connection in the aftermath of tragedy.