February 1, 2003
GOVERNOR NAPOLITANO, PRESIDENT KEN BENNETT, AND SPEAKER JAKE FLAKE ISSUE STATEMENTS REGARDING THE SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA TRAGEDY
PHOENIX - Following the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Governor Janet Napolitano was joined by Senate President Ken Bennett and House Speaker Jake Flake in expressing sorrow over the event. Napolitano issued the following statement:
"This morning a tragedy occurred in the skies over the American Southwest. The crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia took the lives of seven magnificent astronauts, including two who left family members here in the Valley.
"Michael Anderson was an American astronaut and a hero to hundreds of students at Avondale Elementary School, where he attended the third grade and where his sister still works. Commander Rick Husband, whose brother lives in Mesa, died pursuing his childhood dream to fly in space.
"This afternoon, I ordered that all flags flown at state offices be lowered to half staff until Friday, February 7 in honor of the fallen astronauts, especially Anderson and Husband.
"Also in our thoughts are the Arizona State University scientists whose experiments flew aboard Columbia. The loss of so many years of work and preparation must be heart-breaking. Nonetheless, we are grateful for your scientific pursuits.
"Above all, our prayers and condolences go out to the families and friends of every astronaut who perished today. We mourn their loss, salute their bravery, and celebrate their contributions to humanity."