Apollo 1 ~ January 27, 1968
Challenger ~ January 28, 1986
Columbia ~ February 1, 2003
“This Thursday, NASA observes a Day of Remembrance honoring those members of the NASA Family who lost their lives while furthering the cause of exploration and discovery. In their memory, NASA flags at Headquarters and every Center fly at half-staff…
At NASA, we recognize the risks inherent in what we do on a day-to-day basis. It is our highest priority to ensure the safety of all of our employees, and when tragedy occurs, every one of us feels it deeply. Since the earliest days of the Agency, none of our greatest triumphs have been achieved without great struggle and sacrifice. But it is our responsibility to ensure that those sacrifices were not made in vain.
Not a single day goes by in which we do not think of our valiant colleagues lost in this great quest that we pursue. I remain extremely proud of the NASA Family’s efforts to honor their colleagues’ remarkable legacy through an unwavering commitment to enhance mission safety and to keep pioneering the space frontier.
Thus it is that today we mark this solemn occasion with great hope for the future. A living memorial to our colleagues’ legacy will be our continued focus on the Vision for Space Exploration, which will take human explorers back to the Moon and then on to other worlds beyond our own.
In 2004, President Bush observed, “Exploration is not an option we choose. It is a desire written in the human heart. We are that part of creation which seeks to understand all creation. We find the best among us, send them forth into unmapped darkness and pray they will return. They go in peace for all mankind, and all mankind is in their debt.”
We know that we can never repay the debt we owe all of our fallen colleagues, but with those hopeful words in our heart, we can honor their legacy each and every day.”
We just went outside to watch the brief memorial, which ended with T-38s flying the missing man formation. The plane that pulled up quickly disappeared into the cloudy, rainy sky.