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.
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.