The Space Shuttle Columbia flew twenty-eight missions beginning April 12, 1981 and ending over deep East Texas on February 1, 2003 when the aircraft broke apart killing all seven astronauts on board: Americans Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Michael P. Anderson, Laurel B. Clark, and Israeli Ilan Ramon. Nacogdoches and nearby counties, most notably Sabine, became the focal point of international attention as federal, state, and local responders attempted to locate all of the pieces of the fragmented Columbia. Many East Texans can recall hearing the blast and feeling the aftershocks. Others discovered debris in their yards, gardens, pastures, and timberlands. Unfortunately the subsequent plans for a large monument were not realized. It is thus with gratitude that Friends of Historic Nacogdoches, Inc. was able to bring to fruition a living memorial through the planting of seven holly trees and seven granite markers (one for each astronaut) and the erection of an interpretive panel, so that residents and visitors alike can be reminded of this tragic event and tell their own stories of recovery.