Our new President of these United States sent out the following email to NASA employees:
Message from the President on NASA's Day of Remembrance, Jan. 29, 2009
The arrival of a new year reminds us that life is a journey, one that takes us on many unexpected paths. NASA's role is to pioneer journeys into the unknown for the benefit of humanity. Along the way, we sometimes experience tragedy instead of triumph.
Today, we pause to reflect on those moments in exploration when things did not go as expected and we lost brave pioneers. But what sets us apart as Americans is our willingness to get up again and push the frontiers even further with an even stronger commitment and sense of purpose.
On this Day of Remembrance, we remember the sacrifices of those who dared to dream and gave everything for the cause of exploration. We honor them with our ongoing commitment to excellence and an unwavering determination to continue the journey on the path to the future.
President Barack Obama
I also received the following from the Acting Administrator of NASA:
Message from the Acting Administrator - Day of Remembrance, Jan. 29, 2009
Today we honor the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia crews, and all members of the NASA family who lost their lives in the exploration of space. We honor their commitment as well as the loss to their families and friends.
The last Thursday of each January, NASA's annual Day of Remembrance, obliges us to reflect not only on the sacrifices that have been made by our fallen friends and co-workers, but to also consider what each one of us can do in their honor to assure that NASA achieves its very difficult goals in as safe a manner as humanly possible by recalling and reflecting on our core values of safety, excellence, integrity and teamwork.
Spaceflight represents one of the most difficult endeavors that we as a people can undertake. Just as the rewards are great, so too are the challenges we must overcome to safely reach, operate in, and live in space.
We will not always know what lies ahead of us; as we explore we learn more about the wonders outside of our planet, but also how unforgiving space can be.
While we all recognize these challenges, today is a good day to reflect on how we go about meeting them. We must challenge our assumptions, recognize our risks, and address each difficulty directly and openly so that we can operate more safely and more successfully than we did yesterday, or last month, or last year. We must always strive to be better, and to do better.
It's going to be a busy year for all of us, with missions that carry with them the considerable risk that is a part of our normal business. But they also carry great potential. We each have opportunities -- every day -- to remember through our actions, the courageous men and women who dedicated their lives to public service.
With each mission and every challenge, we build upon their technical achievements, benefit from their discoveries, and tap into their bravery and spirit. I am honored to remember these members of the NASA family, and to work side by side with those in NASA and in our communities, to fulfill the vision of these extraordinary people, of living and working in space.
Christopher J. Scolese