February 1, 2003
Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
on Loss of Space Shuttle Columbia and Crew
For six brave Americans and one pioneering Israeli, their final mission to the Final Frontier was their parting gift to the world. Every New Yorker and American is grateful for what they gave our country, and our thoughts and prayers are with those family members and friends who lost a loved-one in this tragedy.
For forty years, the American space program has exemplified our spirit of adventure, and our belief in the promise of discovery. Each mission was a mission on behalf of science, health, and exploration, and we have all watched in wonder as hundreds of courageous astronauts have ventured into the heavens to make this a better world. But today, the crewmembers aboard the Columbia did not return home, and they join their brothers and sister from Apollo I and the Challenger.
This is the kind of tragedy that overwhelms us with grief and gratitude at the same time. We mourn the loss of these five brave men and two women, but we are forever grateful for their service and sacrificeespecially here in New York where Plattsburgh mourns its own Michael P. Anderson.
This afternoon, the President addressed a grieving nation. And his words will bring comfort to the men and women at NASA who are immediately and resiliently going about the difficult task of finding out what happened to their co-workers during this difficult time.