Sunday, February 16, 2003

Families of Astronauts Lost More Than Heroes. Amen......... :{

Here's an excerpt:

Families of Astronauts Lost More Than Heroes

HOUSTON, Feb. 15 — Lani McCool's husband hid 16 large black-and-white photographs of himself around their apartment before he left, one for each day of his mission on the space shuttle Columbia.

From space, where he wore both of their wedding rings and kept with him other photographs the couple took in 17 years together, including "the Kiss shots" — their private renditions of the Rodin sculpture they adored — Cmdr. William C. McCool, 41, would use e-mail to send his wife clues about the pictures.

"Look in the Scrabble box," said one. "Check above the towel rack," said another. "The Reese's Puffs cereal box," said a third.

Willie, as everyone knew Mr. McCool, was an astronaut made suddenly famous on Feb. 1, the day he and six others perished when the Columbia broke apart.

But he was also Mrs. McCool's Scrabble and chess partner, a father of three sons who wore goofy hats with protruding Mickey Mouse ears at home while he wrote his thesis for test pilot school and gave poems as Christmas presents. He was the "trigger finger" on the camera and a constant muse for Mrs. McCool, who spent much of her time photographing nature and the family — Willie most of all.

............a great way to make the whole horrendous incident more "human" to students

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