WMU News

Campus asked to remember Columbia crew and families

Feb. 3, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- In remembrance of the victims of Saturday's space shuttle disaster, Interim President Daniel M. Litynski has instructed that all campus flags at Western Michigan University will be flown at half-staff through Wednesday, Feb. 5. Additionally, all televisions in public areas at WMU are to be tuned to coverage of the memorial service at the NASA Johnson Space Center, beginning at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.

In a letter to the campus community, Litynski wrote:

The events of this weekend remind us once again of the beauty, the courage and the frailty of our human condition.

For more than 40 years, our nation has reached for the stars and inspired the imaginations of many throughout the world through the space program. The technological leaps that were required and have resulted from this historic program have taken humankind to new levels of understanding of our place in the universe and, in many ways, benefited our global society.

The tragic accident of the Columbia on Saturday brings home again the realization that great undertakings often involve risk. The astronauts certainly understood the dangers they faced as they trained to complete their scientific mission, which held the potential to help many around the world. Yet they had the courage to follow their vision.

The heroic crew of the Columbia came from many backgrounds. Our thoughts, hearts and prayers go out to them, their loved ones and their colleagues, while we, as a nation, seek to grasp the magnitude of our loss.

I have directed that our campus flags be flown at half-staff through Wednesday, Feb. 5, in keeping with President Bush's directive to federal offices. In addition, during Tuesday's 12:45 p.m. memorial service at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, all televisions in the University's public areas will be tuned to coverage of that solemn event to ensure the campus community has the opportunity to join others around the nation and world in paying tribute to Columbia's seven astronauts.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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