AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Wednesday marked the 20th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster that led to the death of Rick Husband and six other astronauts. Husband was the shuttle commander of the Space Shuttle Columbia which was destroyed during the reentry on February 1st of 2003. To commemorate Husband, the City of Amarillo along with friends of Husband, joined together at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport.
Husband’s family was not physically in attendance at the ceremony, but his daughter did call in to pray and honor her father.
“We felt that on the 20th anniversary of the space shuttle Columbia disaster that we would honor Rick and rest of the crew that didn’t survive that particular mission. We felt that kind of a wreath placing be the best thing to honor him and the rest of his crew,” Michael Conner, City of Amarillo director of aviation said.
Laura Storrs, assistant city manager and CFO for the City of Amarillo said it is important for the community to have this ceremony because it gives everyone a chance to come together and recognize the honor Husband has brought to the community.
“Rick Husband is a huge part of our community. Being an astronaut and serving our country in that way. It’s been an important part of our heritage here in Amarillo,” Storrs added. “We are very honored to have our airport named after him and acknowledge the accomplishments that he made in his life.”
Storrs said that Husband’s legacy has left an impact on the city because it allows kids to have a local hero, and someone to look up to.
Susan Esler, a friend of Husband added that he pushed children to achieve their dreams. He not only pushed the message to local students but to Esler’s children as well.
“They were at a time where they we’re establishing their dreams can you really live your dream. And he told them about his dream was to always be an astronaut, and that yes you can live dream,” Elser said. “I think he would come and talk to Crockett students and tell them that. That you can do whatever you dream. Don’t be limited by the face they maybe from Amarillo.”
Elser talked about Husband and what it was like to see everything that he accomplished.
“It’s one of those things when you think the kid that I went to high school, or junior high and high school with, actually became the astronaut that he always told us he would be. That was huge thing for all of us,” Elser said. “And to see him go into space not once but twice was incredible. And just the great things that he was doing.”
Carol Lovelady, a family friend of the Husbands talked more about Husband and who he was as a person.
“He was the definition of a fine person. He was honest, he was generous, he was kind and he was committed. When he sets his mind to do something he accomplished it,” Lovelady said.