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NASA ‘Day of Remembrance’ marks Columbia 20th anniversary

HUNTSVILLE – The Marshall Space Flight Center is holding a candle-lighting ceremony Thursday as part of NASA’s annual agency-wide Day of Remembrance.

This year, the NASA Day of Remembrance precedes the 20th anniversary of the Columbia tragedy which occurred Feb. 1, 2003.

Ceremonies, including a wreath placement at seven NASA facilities, honors those who lost their lives while exploring space, including the crews of Apollo 1 and space shuttles Challenger and Columbia.

The Marshall ceremony will feature remarks from Director Jody Singer; Bill Hill, director of Marshall’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance; and astronaut Mike Hopkins.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson; Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy; and Associate Administrator Bob Cabana will host a town hall today at 11:30 Central with NASA employees at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.

There will be discussions about the invaluable lessons learned over the decades, and the importance of a strong safety culture.

It will stream live on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Nelson will lead an observance Thursday at Arlington National Cemetery. It 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 at noon Central.

“NASA’s Day of Remembrance is about pausing, remembering, and uplifting the legacies of the NASA family who gave their lives to advance the cause of discovery,” said Nelson. “While this will always be a solemn day, it’s also one of gratitude. We are thankful that NASA’s adventurers shared their lives with us and made life better on Earth.

“As we continue to expand humanity’s reach in this new era of exploration, we must always embrace NASA’s core value of safety.”

The agency is paying tribute to its fallen astronauts with special online content that will be updated on Day of Remembrance.

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