Columbia Will Always Be Remembered by Community

by Donna McCollum

Hemphill is one East Texas city that takes the Columbia anniversary to heart. During the disaster, Sabine County residents worked relentlessly with the recovery mission. They won't forget. The town hosted a memorial service. Services like this have been held each year since the disaster.

Those here call it a healing experience. Even after three years, the tragedy still stirs their emotions.

Joaquin Fire Chief Mike Woods explained why he continues to play bagpipes at the ceremonies. "The astronauts are their country's heroes. They came from all over the world to make that mission, and they just came back to earth here. Unfortunate how it happened, but I think it's very proper that we honor them this way."

A NASA astronaut presented a plaque to the community. NASA thanks residents for their continued efforts to keep the Columbia mission alive in everyone's memories.