In 2003, seven brave astronauts were lost when the space shuttle Columbia broke apart during its reentry to the earth's atmosphere. One of those aboard was Ilan Ramon, Israel's first astronaut. This week, Marcy Oster tells us at Arutz Sheva, the relatives of the ill-fated crew were welcomed to Ramon's home, the Holy Land of Israel, by President Reuven Rivlin:
They are visiting Israel at the invitation of Rona Ramon, who had asked them to attend for the first time the annual memorial ceremony for her husband, Ilan, Israel’s first astronaut.
Rona Ramon died last month. Her children asked Rivlin to meet the families instead.
The families presented Rivlin with a picture taken at the training compound in 2002, several months before the disaster, which shows the astronauts’ space suits hanging next to each other with American flags on their sleeves, and the Israeli flag on the sleeve of Ilan Ramon’s suit...
Evelyn Husband-Thompson, wife of commander of the Columbia mission Rick Husband, thanked the president and said, “We are all so proud of you, and proud of the Ramon Foundation. It is difficult and emotional, but we also look forward to the future. On behalf of all the families, we are so happy to be here.”
“I want to welcome you all here – not as guests but as family,” Rivlin said. “When we think of the seven crew members of the Columbia, we feel deep grief, but also boundless pride. They flew to the heavens to push the boundaries of human knowledge.”