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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 26, 1996


Ten years ago this week, our nation and the world were stunned and saddened by the loss of the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger. A decade later, we are still moved by the memory of the Challenger Seven and honor the extraordinary sacrifice they made for our country.

Throughout our history, pioneers have dared to dream and live life to the fullest. Like the pathfinders and explorers of our earliest days, like the settlers who pushed our boundaries westward, like the pilots who first took to the air, or the Apollo astronauts who lost their lives in pursuit of President Kennedy's visionary call to reach the moon, the Challenger astronauts believed in themselves and in their mission. They believed in the quest for knowledge and the pursuit of discovery. And each of them -- including a special school teacher who touched America's heart, Christa McAuliffe -- possessed the rare courage of those willing to risk much to achieve great things.

The people of our space program still carry with them the memory of the Challenger astronauts and keep alive in their daily striving the spirit of the friends and colleagues they lost on that tragic day. Today, our space program is still strong, the Shuttles continue to broaden our horizons, the frontiers of knowledge continue to expand, and the dream of exploration, as we find at Challenger Education Centers around the country, lives on.

We have been fortunate to view our world from the vastness of space, and we owe a lasting debt of gratitude to the Challenger Seven and all those who have taught and still teach us about our place in the cosmos. For, as T.S. Eliot wrote:

                 We shall not cease from exploration
                 And the end of all our exploring
                 Will be to arrive where we started
                 And know the place for the first time.


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