Bush to attend service at Houston space center
Advertiser News Services
WASHINGTON President Bush will attend a memorial service at the Johnson Space Center in Houston tomorrow for the seven Columbia astronauts, the White House announced yesterday.
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush leave St. John's Church after services.
Bush listened intently in church yesterday as a minister said he had heard others say the shuttle's breakup was "God's way of getting back at us" for Bush's Iraq policies.
"That's hokum. That's just garbage," said the Rev. Luis Leon, rector of St. John's Church across Lafayette Square from the White House.
"What happened yesterday I think is the price that we pay for exploration, it's the price that we pay for the freedom that God has granted all of us," Leon said.
Bush bowed his head as a congregation member, Doug Volgenau, read aloud the names of the seven lost astronauts.
Volgenau prayed that "they may have a place in Your eternal kingdom."
"God's heart is more heartbroken than our own, and I believe they're already resting," Leon said.
After delivering an emotional televised statement Saturday after the Columbia crash, Bush kept a public silence yesterday.
The president also spoke by phone with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, President Jose Maria Aznar of Spain and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee of India expressing "mutual condolences" with Vajpayee because one of the astronauts, Kalpana Chawla, was born in India.