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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 3, 2003

Bush to attend service at Houston space center

 •  Probe starts with tiles
 •  Tragedy scars small Texas town
 •  Could crew have been saved? NASA seeks answers
 •  Hawai'i finds solace in faith messages
 •  Grief jars soul of Florida town
 •  President's words offer comfort to nation
 •  Investigator in USS Cole blast will lead shuttle probe
 •  NASA lauded for straightforward reaction
 •  Probe centers on foam on shuttle's fuel tank
 •  Anti-nuclear group says crash bolsters position

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.

Associated Press

Family, friends and dignitaries, will attend. It is closed to the public, but NASA TV will broadcast it live.

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.