"The Challengers"
A Poem by Allen P. Martin
January 1986

It thrilled us all so many times
We thought we'd won the race,
It seemed so safe, a routine plane
That soared far out in space.

So when a teacher chose to stretch
And dared to question, "Why?"
We never thought that this could be
A day to mourn and cry.

That day I sat and watched TV
With ne'er a doubt or fear,
Then all at once the news broke in
And horror gripped my ear.

A ball of flame that sears my soul
And cuts through like a knife,
I can't believe, and yet I see
The loss of ship and life.

The flag goes out, half-staff, of course,
I mourn with all the rest,
And though the shock thrusts at my soul,
My faith can pass this test.

For still there grows a sense of pride
Through all our tears and pain,
And courage thrives, we must be sure
Their deaths won't be in vain.

We'll mourn and cry, then work some more,
To stop would be a sin,
The stars are ours, we won't turn back,
We'll learn, and strive, and win.

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