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Congresswoman Waters Mourns Loss of Columbia Shuttle Crew

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has joined the nation and the world in expressing her heartfelt sympathy to the families of the seven astronauts who lost their lives Saturday morning.

"I join with the President and all Americans in offering my deepest sympathy and condolences. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the crew and the communities that loved and supported them. This was a terrible tragedy that no family should ever have to endure.

"Commander Rick Husband, Pilot William McCool, Payload Commander Michael Anderson, Mission Specialist David Brown, Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist Laurel Clark, and Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon gave their lives in the pursuit of knowledge.

The seven brave men and women, who composed this crew rose to the top of their fields through hard work and determination. The international crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia was a group of men and women of extraordinary intelligence, brave hearts and dedication to one of the greatest endeavors that mankind has ever known.

"The crew was as diverse as America itself. The six Americans were joined by Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli to go into space. Together, regardless of race, religion or national origin, they worked to ensure the integrity of the mission and to conduct scientific experiments that someday might improve the lives of thousands. They accomplished the mission's goals in outstanding fashion.

"I thank these remarkable individuals for their dedication. As a Member of Congress, I will not rest until we know why this tragedy happened and I will do everything in my power to ensure that this does not happen again. In the wake of this horrific accident, as we search for the cause, we must not abandon our space program.

It has brought so many wonderful innovations in technology and medicine. What we must do is find the root of the problem and provide the means to ensure that the Columbia and Challenger tragedies are never repeated.

"I call on the President and Congress to honor the memories of these heroes by ensuring that NASA has all the necessary resources to protect future astronauts from tragedy."

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