I have made it known previously that my greatest female role model is Christa McAuliffe, a New Hampshire schoolteacher chosen to be the first civilian in space, who tragically perished in the Challenger explosion on 28 January 1986. I wrote a biographical piece on Christa in April 2021. She is a constant inspiration in my life.
Shortly after writing that article, I decided to seek out A Journal for Christa, a 1993 biography written by Christa’s mother, Grace George Corrigan. After a few weeks of searching, I found a used hardcover copy online and hastily purchased it. When it arrived, like all my other books, it immediately went on my bookshelf. And it has been there for months.
Today I pulled it down from the shelf to show during a Zoom discussion in one of my graduate school courses. I flipped through it for the very first time. To my surprise, the title page had a handwritten dedication, with a beautiful message: “You are keeping the dream alive.”
Possibilities raced through my mind. I assumed this book had been gifted, perhaps to an aspiring young scientist, and was an important enough gift to deserve an inscription from the giver. I quickly realized that this was different.
The message is signed, “Sincerely, Grace Corrigan.”
To say that I was surprised is a drastic understatement– I was shaking. And yet, paradoxically, I wasn’t surprised at all. This is exactly the kind of thing I would have expected of Grace Corrigan, the woman who championed her daughter’s life and legacy for over 30 years, until her own passing in 2018. It is an honor and a privilege to carry on Christa’s memory. Thank you, Mrs. Corrigan.