This video of the Challenger disaster is just riveting, at least to me, because I remember standing on my patio at our house in Apopka that day. I found the link on HuffPo, where they said it was from a man in "Winter Gardens." It's Winter Garden, a few miles from Apopka.
I remember this day so well. It was extremely cold, and I was not working full time, just taking college classes while Boy was in half-day kindergarten, and I also watched Girl's little friend during the day. (Apparently I had a lot more energy then, because now I think college plus two kids plus sitting for a third plus house with husband who worked long hours and cleaning the pool and oh yeah, dogs and cats and such, sounds exhausting. Then, it was just life.)
I'm glad the girls were too little to care about the shuttle, because I would not want to have had to explain it to very bright not-quite-3-year-olds. I remember distracting them with snacks and such, and trying not to think of it myself. It was jarring, and it stayed with me for weeks.
As the man in the video says, it was "brighter than usual." I remember thinking that, too. We could see the bright flame of the rocket from the patio, but this one was twice the size of the normal, and then the big puffy cloud, and the little squiggly clouds that definitely signaled Oh Shit NO, and my stomach lurched. And the creepy part of it was that because it was a cold day with little humidity and little wind, that trail hung in the sky like that for HOURS. We went to pick up Boy at kindergarten - it was still visible. It finally faded around mid-afternoon.