On February 1st 2002, space shuttle Columbia disintegrated above Texas during re-entry. All seven astronauts on board died in the disaster including Coronado High School graduate Willie McCool, and Texas Tech alum Rick Husband.
The disaster spread wreckage across the state, most of it in East Texas. On Tuesday, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison introduced legislation to fund the construction of four memorials along the shuttle's recovery corridor in East Texas.
Here in Lubbock, plans are underway to pay tribute to fallen Astronaut Willie McCool. A McCool statue will stand in between the 9-11 tribute flag poles and the Lubbock Area Veterans War Memorial at Huneke Park. Since the groundbreaking in December, the planning committee has decided to enlarge the statue from nine feet to twelve feet.
Statue In Progress to Immortalize South Plains Hero
In about 200 more hours, one Lubbock artist will have this town's largest masterpiece complete.
The McCool family is scheduled to be in Lubbock on May 7th for the memorial's unveiling. Atmos Energy has donated $50,000 to the Willie McCool Memorial Foundation. The sculpture will cost $250,000. If you would like to donate to the fund, mail your donations to:
Lubbock Chamber of Commerce
1301 Broadway, Suite 101
Lubbock, Texas 79401
Lubbock ISD has already paid tribute to Willie McCool. Last year, the Coronado High School renamed its track and field facility. It's now called the "William C. McCool Track and Field." McCool was a 1979 graduate of Coronado High School and an active member on the track team.
Commander Rick Husband Honored With Statue In Amarillo
The Amarillo airport has already been renamed in his honor and on Monday a bronze statue of Rick Husband was unveiled.
Texas Tech graduate Rick Husband is remembered in his hometown of Amarillo. Last year, the airport was re-named in his honor. A bronze statue of Husband was also unveiled.
William C. McCool