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Author Topic:   National Monument to Columbia
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-05-2007 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the Houston Chronicle:
Competition for Columbia memorial is downplayed
quote:
Memorials to the seven fallen Columbia astronauts abound across the East Texas debris field, from a makeshift log cross near Hemphill to a park in Lufkin.

What doesn't exist nearly 4 1/2 years after the shuttle disintegrated upon re-entry is a formal national monument. That's something U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, wants to rectify with a resolution that has passed the House and awaits action by a Senate committee.

House Resolution 807, similar to one that passed the Senate during the past session, would instruct the Interior Department to study where to erect one or more National Park Service monuments to the astronauts and recovery workers.

The bill specifies four locations Hemphill, San Augustine, Lufkin and Nacogdoches but leaves open other possibilities. A memorial could be set at one site or several.

Folks on the ground say they're not treating it as a competition, even if the study might set the stage for one.


KSCartist
Member

Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 07-05-2007 10:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"What doesn't exist nearly 4 1/2 years after the shuttle disintegrated upon re-entry is a formal national monument."

While it may not please everyone, what about the Space Mirror at KSC? I thought that was designated by Congress in 1991 as THE National Monument to fallen astronauts.

I do agree however that a monument needs to be placed in Texas that honors the workers who recovered the Columbia and her crew. Especially since some died doing so.

Tim

spgrissom
Member

Posts: 75
From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 07-06-2007 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I know that there is a memorial in Arlington for the Challenger and one for Columbia. However, the only memorial I know of for Apollo I is the KSC Memorial. Seems to me, and I know I biased, that Apollo I is being left out by the govt. I am all for placing a marker or a memorial for these crews, but if you start then you either do one for them all, one for each, or none at all. Why do one for some but leave out others? Doesn't make sense to me the way things are being done.
Edited by spgrissom

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-06-2007 05:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spgrissom:
However, the only memorial I know of for Apollo I is the KSC Memorial.
The grave markers at Arlington and the Space Mirror serve to memorialize the crews only. They do not mark the loss of the vehicle or mission for which the astronauts gave their lives.

Apollo 1 may be unique in that it does have such a monument: Pad 34. By choosing to "abandon in place", the site has become not only a place of remembrance for the crew but a physical connection to the events of January 27, 1967. It is perhaps the most powerful of monuments, as it wasn't erected as a memorial but rather stands as a reminder.

It may be that someday far in the future, Pad 39B can serve a similar function for Challenger, as her last land-based location. Today, it serves as an active reminder the continued spirit of space exploration as the site of many other subsequent shuttle launches and the future first site of Ares and Orion.

There exists no such marker for Columbia. A memorial erected in East Texas seems appropriate given the previous two examples, and as raised by the article and others as part of this thread, it also serves to recognize the recovery crews and public volunteers who were instrumental in recovering the orbiter's remains.

spgrissom
Member

Posts: 75
From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 07-06-2007 07:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with you to a degree. Yes the govt decided to abandon in place and leave the pedistal at Pad 34 as a reminder. However, not sure that I would declare that as a memorial to the degree as the 2 memorials at Arlington. Pad 34 is great and very moving if you can get to it through a tour but Arlington is a national cemetary with a slew of visitors everyday. Pad 34 does get visitors but in a different fashion. As for the grave markers as memorials...doesn't all the members of Challenger and Columbia has grave markers as well? Don't the workers who died during the recovery efforts have gravestones too?

I am not disagreeing with the thought of a memorial, by all means the crew and ground workers deserve it. My point is that it appears that people are giving more light to some accidents than others when all astronauts gave the same sacifice...their lives.

Edited by spgrissom

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-06-2007 08:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spgrissom:
However, not sure that I would declare that as a memorial to the degree as the 2 memorials at Arlington.
From the cemetery's website:
quote:
Early on the morning of May 20, 1986, the unidentified remains of all seven astronauts were buried near Scobee's grave in Section 46.

On June 12, 1986, the 99th Congress passed a concurrent resolution stating "the Secretary of the Army should construct and place in Arlington National Cemetery, a memorial marker honoring the seven members of the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger."

It was decided by family members and NASA to construct the monument over the cremated remains in Section 46.


Thus the Challenger memorial is not a standalone monument but a grave marker. I believe a similar situation is true for the Columbia memorial (though to be honest, I am not sure).

As there were no unidentifiable remains of the Apollo 1 crew, such a grave site would be unnecessary. That said, I certainly would support an effort to erect a similar tribute.

But this shouldn't be a decision based on what is even or fair for all departed. The Apollo 1 crew died in 1967, and at that time, the nation did what it thought was appropriate to commemorate their death. If a different decision is/was made 40 years later, then that is neither a slight on the Apollo 1 crew or suggesting by any means that the loss of the STS-107 crew deserves more attention. It is simply different times and different decisions.

spgrissom
Member

Posts: 75
From: Mitchell, Indiana, USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 07-06-2007 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spgrissom   Click Here to Email spgrissom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
But this shouldn't be a decision based on what is even or fair for all departed. The Apollo 1 crew died in 1967, and at that time, the nation did what it thought was appropriate to commemorate their death.
I agree... the time period was different. I know I am looking at this from a tainted view point and am probably reading more into it than what it is. Thanks for the differing views.

KSCartist
Member

Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 07-07-2007 03:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SP and Robert-

I think we all want the same thing. That astronauts who lose their life in pursuit of the exploration of space be remembered with an appropriate memorial.

Robert I believe the memorial at Arlington for the Columbia crew does include the unidentifiable remains of those astronauts.

SP that was the reason for doing so - because with both Challenger and Columbia there were remains that couldn't be identified and buried with each crew member. So the decision was made to entomb them together at Arlington.

There wasn't a need to do so for the astronauts of Apollo 1 as there were no unidentifiable remains. Also Ed White wanted to be buried at his alma mater, West Point.

If I remember correctly (I was only 10) but there was pressure to bury him at Arlington with Gus and Roger. I don't know if it came from President Johnson or the NASA adminstrator but maybe the intent was to honor them with some such crew memorial at our nation's cemetary.

SP I'm a volunteer for the Apollo 1 Memorial Foundation. Our long term goal besides memorializing the crew is to award scholarships in their name and to ensure that Pad 34 always be a memorial to them. Since they were born in different states and are buried in different places, Pad 34 is the only place on Earth that ties the three men together.

I welcome you to join with us and give us your ideas and feedback. Apollo 1 was my generations Challenger or Columbia tragedy. I felt the same way as my Young Astronauts did when those occured. I can't predict how successful we will be but I'll never stop trying.

Personally, I would like to see an Apollo/Saturn 1B installed atop that pedastel as a permanent memorial. Not only to honor the crew of Apollo 1 but also to remember the crew and mission that was our first "Return to Flight" - Apollo 7. Those men were the "Phoenix rising from the ashes." They flew Gus, Ed and Roger's mission and I believe they and the entire Apollo program was successful in large part to the lessens learned from Apollo 1.

Tim

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