Thomas Jefferson made a comment about the Presidency and age. He said that one should not worry about one’s exact chronological age in reference to his ability to perform one’s task. And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.
– Remarks at the Annual Salute to Congress Dinner (February 4, 1981)
President Ronald Reagan was born on this day in 1911. He died on June 5, 2004 at the age of 93.
“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. ” – President Ronald Reagan
The Space Shuttle Disaster occurred on this day, 33 years ago (January 28, 1986)
On this episode of Return to the ’80s, Robert and Paul welcome Ty Ray, from the Beats and Eats podcast, to the show. The guys Return to 1981, and count down the year’s top songs, movies, and television shows. Also, find out what the biggest selling toys were in 1981, and reminisce on the big news stories of the year.
As this current decade comes to a close, come join us to Return to the greatest decade ever, and check out the awesome year of 1981!
Oakland Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 – January 25, 1981 at the Louisiana Superdome
Boston Celtics beat the Houston Rockets 4-2
New York Islanders defeat the Minnesota North Stars 4-1
LA Dodgers beat the New York Yankees 4-1
January 20 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days freed
March 6 Walter Cronkite signs off of CBS Evening News
March 30 Reagan Assassination attempt
April 18 The Longest Game – Pawtucket Red Sox tie Rochester Red Wings 2-2 in 32 innings (game resumed 23rd June)
May 11 Cats premieres in London
May 13 Assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II
Jun 2 Barbara Walters asks Katharine Hepburn what kind of tree she would be
Jun 5 AIDS Epidemic officially begins when US Centers for Disease Control reports on pneumonia affecting five homosexual men in Los Angeles
Jun 12 Baseball players begin a 50 day strike, their 3rd strike
July 29 Royal Wedding
Aug 1 MTV premieres at 12:01 AM
Aug 3 13,000 Air Traffic Controllers (PATCO) begin their strike; US President Ronald Reagan offers an ultimatum to workers: ‘if they do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated’
Sep 12 “The Smurfs” animated cartoon series by Hanna-Barbera first broadcasts in North America
Sep 25 Sandra Day O’Connor sworn in as 1st female supreme court justice
Dec 11 Muhammad Ali’s 61st & last fight, losing to Trevor Berbick
Dec 28 1st American test-tube baby, Elizabeth Jordan Carr is born in Norfolk, Virginia
It’s time for a little Throwback Thursday. Today marks 30 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. This is an article I originally posted on October 22, 2010, as part of the 19 Somethin’ series. In that series, broke down the Mark Wills hit “19 Somethin’” line by line. If you are unfamiliar with that country tune, Mark Wills makes ’70s and ’80s pop culture references throughout the whole song. He had a line about the disaster, so here is the whole article dedicated to it. It even features a “Very Special Episode” of Punky Brewster at the end.
Space shuttle fell out of the sky
and the whole world cried
In the ’80s, there were some events that were shown over and over again. The assassination attempt on President Reagan. Joe Theisman’s leg snapping in half (Nasty. And we had to relive that in the first minute of last year’s movie, The Blind Side). The ball going between Bill Buckner’s legs (Tragic for Red Sox fans, glorious for Met fans). And of course, the space shuttle disaster.
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986. 73 seconds after takeoff, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded and broke into pieces over the Atlantic Ocean. Up to that point in the space program’s history, the flights were becoming a casual thing. For a long time, it was a major event when a rocket, or the new space shuttles took off. But, after a few years of the space shuttles taking off and landing, you may not have known when a shuttle was being sent up.
However, this flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger was an exception. One of the members of this crew was to be the first schoolteacher to go up in space – Christa McAuliffe. Not only was there general interest in this, but many public schools across the nation showed the launch live. Here is the launch, that many of us have seen many times, but may not have seen it in a while:
On the night of the disaster, President Ronald Reagan had been scheduled to give his annual State of the Union Address. He initially announced that the address would go on as scheduled, but then postponed the State of the Union Address for a week and instead gave a national address on the Challenger disaster from the Oval Office of the White House. He finished the address with the line from the poem “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.:
“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.'”
Here is the whole address:
The days and weeks following the disaster, we learned more about O-rings than we ever wanted to. The disaster occurred because a rubber O-ring froze, and failed to seal the tanks from the hot high-pressure gases, and the rest is history.
The following were the crew members:
Captain Dick Scobee
Michael J. Smith
After a 32-month hiatus, the next shuttle mission was launched on September 29, 1988. That shuttle was the Discovery, which was also the first shuttle launched after the 2003 Columbia disaster.
In March 1986, NBC aired the second season finale of Punky Brewster, which saw Punky, who was dreaming to be an astronaut, and her class, trying to deal with the Challenger tragedy, after watching the launch in school. The episode was immediately scripted soon after the crash, as NBC executives knew a lot of children would be devastated by the loss of Christa McAuliffe, a teacher, as the launch was shown in many schools.
Here is the episode. Part 2 gives an idea of the initial reaction of the disaster:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall! Speech at the Brandenburg Gate. (June 12, 1987)
We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free. Memorial Day speech – May 26, 1983