History: January 2021 Archives

Keith's update: NASA just released this statement. After decades of holding an event at Arlington National Cemetery, NASA will not allow the public or media to attend the event at this large, outdoor public location due to COVID concerns.

NASA Pays Tribute to Fallen Heroes with Day of Remembrance

"Jurczyk will lead an observance at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, which will begin with a traditional wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, followed by observances for the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia crews. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year's event will be limited to invited guests and closed to media."

Columbia: Thinking Back - Looking Ahead, Excerpt from "New Moon Rising", by Frank Sietzen, Jr. and Keith Cowing

"At the end of the event, Rona Ramon, Ilan's widow, spoke last. Steeling her emotions with grace and clarity, she spoke elegantly and briefly. She thanked all for coming. And then she talked of her husband, and the flight of the lost shuttle. "Our mission in space is not over" she told the hushed audience. "He was the first Israeli in space -- that means there will be more."

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2011/IMG_1407.s.jpg20 July 2003: Arctic Memorials and Starship Yearnings, SpaceRef

"Our task was a somewhat solemn one. We were here to erect a memorial to Columbia astronaut Michael Anderson. Two memorials have already been erected by members of the HMP Team. The memorials take the form of an inukshuk, a stone sculpture in rough human form used by the Inuit to mark territory. These stone structures serve as reference points for those who traverse this desolate place. As we establish these memorial inukshuks, we do so for the very same reason the Inuit do: to aid in future exploration - in this case, of Devon Island. As such, these memorials will show the way for future explorers."

Scott Parazynski: Still on Cloud 10 (on the summit of Mt. Everest), SpaceRef

"I tied off a pair of flags I'd made to honor astronauts and cosmonauts who had perished in the line of duty (Apollo 1, Challenger, Columbia, Soyuz 1 and Soyuz 11), as I could think of no finer place on Earth to hang them. In the coming days, weeks, months and years, like their Tibetan prayer flag counterparts, they will weather under the wind, sun and snow, and slowly lift back up into the heavens."

Apollo 1 - 27 January 1967
Soyuz 1 - 23 April 1967
Soyuz 11 - 29 June 1971
Challenger - 28 January 1986
Columbia - 1 February 2003

Keith's note: Last week I asked NASA HQ Public Affairs about the annual Remembrance Day event at Arlington National Cemetery. I have been attending this event for more than 20 years as often as I could. They replied that they are not taking guests and that some sort of virtual thing would be posted online. I got the distinct impression that they did not want anyone to attend - mostly for COVID reasons. I asked if they were telling the public that they could not attend this public event in a public place. No one from NASA ever responded back to me - despite saying that they would.

There is no mention whatsoever on the NASA website or on their calendar of upcoming events, no social media, nothing on the NASA TV schedule etc. FWIW I have built memorials to Columbia and Challenger crew on a remote arctic island and supported a memorial effort atop Mt. Everest from base camp - both at some personal risk - because it was important to do these things. I served on the board of the Challenger Center and came to know the families of these crews. So this is an intensely personal thing with me - as it is for many others in the extended NASA family.

But now NASA seems to be uninterested in making any mention of the sacrifices of these crews. I am saddened - and baffled - and angry.



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This page is an archive of entries in the History category from January 2021.

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