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Pages From Our Past: Space shuttle explodes (1986)

As the Elkhart Truth celebrates its 125th anniversary, we look back at this front page from Jan. 28, 1986.

Posted on March 6, 2014 at 7:14 p.m.

January 28, 1986: Space Shuttle Explodes

This front page hit newsstands hours after the space shuttle Challenger exploded above its Cape Canaveral, Fla., launch pad and killed all seven crew members aboard, including a New Hampshire school teacher who was to be the first American citizen in space.

One story on the page conveys President Reagan’s initial reaction to the tragic news: “President Reagan today stood in ‘stunned silence’ as he watched a television replay of the space shuttle explosion.” The other big news for the day was in anticipation of Reagan’s fifth State of the Union address, planned for that evening. Though the White House spokesman quoted in the story noted that there were no plans to delay the State of the Union address, Reagan later decided to postpone it by a week. That evening, he instead addressed the nation on the disaster—offering tribute to the seven lost crew members and resolving that the incident shouldn’t diminish America’s appetite for space exploration. This was the only time in history that the State of the Union was postponed.

Last month, nearly 28 years later, the Challenger disaster hit national headlines again when pop artist Beyoncé came under criticism for using audio from the news broadcast immediately following the explosion in her song “XO.”

Another interesting story on this page from 1986 bears the headline, “Many women don’t recognize their value,” and examines a study on gender in the workplace. Printed in a decade of women’s empowerment, the article recommends that ladies looking to succeed professionally should exude self-confidence, be flexible and willing to take risks, and seek mentors to teach and encourage them. It also says that activities like internships, clubs and sports can help develop the leadership and organizational experience women need to compete with men in the business world. It also makes some recommendations for employers to make their workplaces more friendly to female employees.


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