NASA astronauts were among those on-hand Saturday to dedicate a statue to one of their fallen peers in the space shuttle Columbia disaster.
About 200 people attended the unveiling of a 15-foot bronze statue of Willie McCool.
McCool was one of the seven astronauts who died when Columbia disintegrated during re-entry in Febuary 2003.
The statue shows McCool’s hand pointing north toward the flight path of Columbia before the shuttle began to break up.
The names of McCool’s widow and his three sons are etched on the statue.
The bronze sculpture of McCool, standing next to an inspired six-year-old boy, weighs about 1,700 pounds.
Organizers have been working on the $250,000 project for about two years.
“Often when you work on a piece as long as i have, it`s like losing an old friend. You have to get used to it. It leaves an abyss in your life,” says sculptor Eddie Dixon.