East Texans Remember Columbia With Shuttle Memorial

As America watches the last few minutes of Columbia's descent, released by NASA yesterday, a memorial was unveiled in East Texas for the lost astronauts.

A ceremony Saturday at Thompson Funeral Home in Jacksonville marked the dedication of a memorial, a tribute to those who lost their lives in the skies above Texas. A crowd gathered to remember the astronauts.

A month ago, Cherokee County was one of the first places to recover shuttle debris. Now, the residents want to pay tribute to the heroes of Columbia.

"We know how important it is," funeral home manager Sean McRight says. "Not in the fact that the families would ever know we've even done this, but just for us to know."

McRight says even though it was a month ago, people are still talking about the crash of space shuttle Columbia. He hopes today helps to not only honor the astronauts, but to provide closure for the area.

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.