Many in Texas recall hearing the explosion and seeing the white line of destruction cut across the clear, blue sky. I remember the tragedy vividly. As a state senator, I spent much of the days and weeks following Feb. 1, 2003 in East Texas mourning the lives of the Columbia crew and working with volunteers and state, local and federal officials to facilitate recovery and search for answers.
My heart still goes out to NASA and the families and friends who continue to mourn the loss of the Columbia crew. Those astronauts, like the ones before and after, were pioneers who inspired us all.
As we remember the tragedy, I’d like to thank the men and women of the space program for their courage, ingenuity and patriotism. I hope the mystery and adventure of space will continue to inspire future generations to reach for the stars.
Texas Agriculture Commissioner