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ACNS3302 Columbia crew's faith and courage remembered at

From "Anglican Communion News Service" <>
Date Thu, 13 Feb 2003 15:46:02 -0000

ACNS 3302     |     USA     |	  11FEBRUARY 2003

Columbia crew's faith and courage remembered at National Cathedral,

by Dwight Zscheile

[ENS] Vice President Dick Cheney, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe, Bishop
John Chane, a local Episcopal priest and a rabbi were amongst those who paid
solemn tribute to the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia at a memorial
service on 6 February at Washington National Cathedral.

Speaking to an audience of nearly 1,500 grieving family members, NASA
colleagues, members of Congress, dignitaries and the general public, Mr
Cheney saluted the courage of the Columbia 7. "Every great act of
exploration involves great risk," he said. "The crew of the Columbia
accepted that risk in service to all mankind." He reiterated the nation's
commitment to space exploration, pledging that "their greatest memorial will
be a vibrant space program and new missions."

NASA chief Sean O'Keefe, praised astronauts Rick Husband, William McCool,
Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark and Ilan Ramon
as examples of "the best of the human spirit." While vowing to continue and
strengthen NASA's shuttle program, he also acknowledged the limits of our
scientific and technological endeavours. "Our hope is not ultimately a hope
grounded in the progress of human achievements," said Mr O'Keefe. "It is
grounded in the sure and certain faith in a Creator who calls Rick, Willie,
Michael, Kalpana, David, Laurel, Ilan - and each of us - by name."

Retired astronaut, Col Robert Cabana, sketched colourful personal anecdotes
of each of the seven crew members, recalling a moment shortly before the
crew boarded Columbia for takeoff in which this diverse group of men and
women from different faiths and countries huddled, arms linked, in joint

Other participants included Brigadier General Charles Baldwin, deputy chief
of chaplains, United States Air Force, who delivered the homily, and Rabbi
Warren Stone, president of the Washington Board of Rabbis, who read from the
Book of Isaiah and offered prayers in Hebrew and English.

Courage, commitment, curiosity

The Revd Stephen McWhorter, vicar of St David's Episcopal Church in Ashburn,
Virginia, read from 2 Corinthians and prayed in thanksgiving "for the
courage, commitment and curiosity that led them to reach beyond our world
toward the stars." Fr McWhorter, founding pastor of one of the nation's
fastest-growing Episcopal congregations, spoke of the sacrifice that
accompanies love, calling Jesus God's "ultimate gift of love to us, but it
is a gift not without cost."

The Rt Revd John Chane, Bishop of Washington, began his blessing with a
quotation from the Book of Common Prayer: "O creator God, at your command
all things came to be; the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies,
suns, moons, the planets in their courses and this fragile earth our island
home." Bishop Chane continued to pray, "Yet even in our sorrow; bless and
strengthen our resolve to fly tomorrow even higher than the wings of an
eagle have taken us today."

Patti LaBelle offered a heartfelt performance of Way Up There, a song
commissioned by NASA last year. She was joined by the US Navy Band and the
Air Force Singing Sergeants.

Attending the service were such luminaries as former astronaut and US
senator, John Glenn, as well as hundreds of NASA employees, many of whom sat
weeping quietly for their lost colleagues.

Across the front of the Cathedral were lined the flags of the United States,
Israel and NASA. Near the conclusion of the service, the haunting notes of
"Taps" reverberated through the limestone expanse from a lone bugler
standing near the high altar.

[Dwight Zscheile is a member of Episcopal Communicators and executive pastor
of St David's Episcopal Church in Ashburn, Virginia]

The ACNSlist is published by the Anglican Communion Office, London.

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