Families of Columbia's crew release statement to nation

By The Associated Press

Statement from the families of Columbia's crew, read by Evelyn

Husband, wife of shuttle Cmdr. Rick Husband on NBC's "Today":

On January 16th we saw our loved ones launch into a brilliant

cloud-free sky. Their hearts were full of enthusiasm, pride in

country, faith in their God and a willingness to accept risk in the

pursuit of knowledge - knowledge that might improve the quality of

life for all mankind.

Columbia's 16-day mission of scientific discovery was a great

success, cut short by mere minutes. Yet it will live on forever in

our memories. We want to thank the NASA family and people from

around the world for their incredible outpouring of love and

support.

Although we grieve deeply, as do the families of Apollo I and

Challenger before us, the bold exploration of space must go on.

Once the root cause of this tragedy is found and corrected, the

legacy of Columbia must carry on for the benefit of our children

and yours.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-02-03-03 0836EST