Company mistakes Challenger explosion for fireworks

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Lest we forget. The image posted by American Apparel was similar to this one, but had a red background. (File photo)
Lest we forget. The image posted by American Apparel was similar to this one, but had a red background. (File photo)

Lest we forget. The image posted by American Apparel was similar to this one, but had a red background. (File photo)

There are times of your life you will always remember vividly.

In 1986, my college roommate wanted to watch the space shuttle Challenger take off. He tuned in to CNN, woke me up and we watched history unfurl on Jan. 28, 1986.

I remember seeing the explosion and realizing something dreadful had happened. People at Cape Canaveral seemed to be watching on tape delay. When cameras showed spectators, many were clapping.

That was almost 30 years ago, and we must forgive those who were not alive then and cannot recall the nation’s shock at losing seven astronauts and the three-year grounding of the space program.

Still, it is more than a bit shocking that a company, American Apparel, would post an image of the Challenger explosion on Tumblr July 4th with the hashtags #smoke and #clouds.

The company apologized, saying the mistake was made by a 20-year-old “international” employee.

I’m almost 50 and I’ve made my share of social media mistakes, but I will never top that one, thankfully.

The public was quick to call out the social media gaffe on social media, of course.

“Your company is an absolute embarrassment after utilizing the Challenger picture in the manner you did. I am deeply ashamed to call you fellow citizens after that … an absolute disgrace,” wrote one angry Facebook user. “Consider removing American from your company name because you have made it clear you are far from it.”

Maybe next year American Apparel will stick to posting pics of people in their underwear or helping their mannequins with grooming issues.

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