In honor of memorial day, this post is dedicated to the astronauts of the Challenger, Columbia, and Apollo 1 disasters.
In addition, astronauts Theodore Freeman, Elliot See, Charles Bassett, and C.C. Williams all died in T-38 crashes. C.C. Williams is the 4th star seen on the Apollo 12 mission patch, as he was slated to be on the crew. Robert Lawrence (first African American astronaut), was killed in an F105-Starfighter accident. Though these men did not make it into space, I feel that they indeed earned the title of Astronaut.
I’ve always had great faith in and respect for our space program, and what happened today does nothing to diminish it… We’ll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue. I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them: Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.
–Ronald Reagan, on the Challenger disaster.