Skip to comments.Remarks by Gov. Jeb Bush at FL NASA Kennedy Center, Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial Service, 2/7/03
Posted on 02/07/2003 3:22:30 PM PST by summer
Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial Service Remarks
by FL Gov. Jeb Bush
They were supposed to return here.
After orbiting the earth for sixteen days, after traveling more than six million miles, after seeing every corner of our beautiful world, they were supposed to return here.
You -- their coworkers, their colleagues, their friends -- were ready to greet them with their families, to congratulate them on their successful mission, to honor them as the newest standard bearers of the great American tradition of exploration and discovery in space.
They were supposed to return here, to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.
We Floridians are so proud of this place. We are so proud that for four decades, our astronauts have journeyed into the heavens from our own beloved shores.
And we are so proud that for nearly two decades, we have welcomed our astronauts home again, as one of the landing sites for the Space Shuttle program.
This place stood ready to welcome home seven new heroes last Saturday morning, but the men and women of Columbia did not return to us.
Our entire nation grieves at their loss. Our prayers are with their families. And our prayers are also with you, you who shared with them the ancient dream of being one with the stars.
Who among us has never looked up into the heavens on a starlit night, lost in wonder at the vastness of space and the beauty of the stars?
So too did the founders of our own democracy look to the stars for inspiration. In the summer of 1777, as the first American patriots fought for independence and liberty against the forces of tyranny, they needed a standard, a symbol to rally the hearts of our people.
And so in June of that year, the Continental Congress designed a flag. "Resolved," they said, "that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
That new constellation shines as brightly as ever today.
Now fifty stars strong, it commands the allegiance of 280 million Americans who lowered their Star-Spangled Banner to half-mast in honor of their lost countrymen. This nation under God still looks heavenward, looking no longer for the return of those whom we have lost, but to God himself, just as an old childless man did many centuries ago.
The book of Genesis tells us that Abraham -- patriarch of the three great monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam -- was lost in despair one night. Abraham doubted whether Gods promise of a son, an heir, and a future would ever come true.
But the Lord took Abraham outside of his tent and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them." The old man looked up, and the Lord said, "So shall your offspring be."
Since that night, the children of Abraham - by blood and by faith - have looked up at the stars and seen in them the boundless expanse of Gods blessing and Providence. And we have been comforted, knowing that even in the midst of despair and darkness, God is with us. And with God there is light.
And so, men and women of the Kennedy Space Center, let us grieve together, but let us also share hope.
Let us share the hope that when we look to the stars, we will see in them a reminder of the heroes who dared to travel among them.
Let us cherish the hope that those men and women we lost will inspire us and our children for generations to come.
Let us nurture the hope that our seven astronauts - Rick Husband, David Brown, Michael Anderson, Laurel Salton Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Ilan Ramon and Willie McCool - will forever be united in our hearts. Not only united for sixteen days as a team on a mission to the stars, but also united as a constellation of stars in the annals of space exploration and discovery. May God bring them to Him. May God be with their families and friends. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.
You have stated many times how proud you are about how Jeb personally answers emails. Well, I sent him one regarding a matter of no small importance a few days ago, and have recieved no response. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it is about a citrus-canker-Nazi incident down in Ft. Lauderdale, which doesn't reflect too well on his administration.
I would appreciate your input, off-thread, I suppose. I will also ping you to the FR thread.
It was plain to see he had a real love for her.
Theres heavy grief in our hearts, which will diminish with time, but it will never go away, and we wont ever forget, Crippen said, choking up as he called out the first names of the seven astronauts: Commander Rick Husband, pilot Willie McCool, payload commander Michael Anderson, payload specialist Ilan Ramon, and mission specialists Dave Brown, Kalpana K.C. Chawla and Laurel Clark.
The article also says 'A few drops of rain sent a wave of restlessness through the crowd, but the sun brightened the stage briefly as Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke.'
I've experienced the few drops of rain on more than one occasion at graveside or memorial services. I look upon it as God sharing a few tears with us. It is an immensely moving moment for me. I guess the author hasn't been similarly blessed.
I also heard the T-38's as the came up the coast prior to the fly-over. The modern sound of freedom.
See Thousands at KSC honor Columbia's 7 heroes for the local print coverage of the service.
If you were there, you have my great sympathies on your horrid loss.
Maybe tomorrow I will be able to watch the entire ceremony. (I saw some of my former co-workers on the video.)
The NASA camerapeople totally missed the missing man formation. They were panning around trying to figure out what all that noise was. It was an embarassment.