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Gretchen Cook-Anderson
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 202/358-0836)

Brian Huckabee
Florence County School District 3, Lake City, S.C.
(Phone: 843/374-8652 ext.132)

March 11, 2004
RELEASE : 04-089
NASA Celebrates Legacy Of Challenger Astronaut Ronald McNair
NASA officials will join others in ceremonial events of remembrance and celebration of the legacy of Challenger astronaut Dr. Ronald E. McNair. The events are Monday, March 15, in McNair's hometown, Lake City, S.C.

Lake City recently relocated McNair's remains to the Dr. Ronald E. McNair Memorial Park. The city is hosting a series of special events to mark the 18th anniversary year of the Challenger accident and to acknowledge the new resting place.

"Dr. McNair embodied everything that we all strive to be," said Larue Alford, mayor of Lake City. "He showed us all there is no limit to our dreams and there is no obstacle that can't be overcome. To all of us in Lake City and around the country, he is a true American hero," she added.

The events include educational programs at Ronald E. McNair Middle School and Lake City High School attended by thousands of students from Florence County School District Three. An inspirational event targeting high school girls and an evening candlelight service at the Lake City Presbyterian Church round out the day's events. Several members of the McNair family, including his widow Cheryl McNair, will attend the events on Wednesday.

"I look at this day as a celebration of my husband's life and his achievements, and as the continuation of his desire to inspire and motivate the youth of this nation and all who wish to fulfill their dreams despite life's obstacles," said Mrs. McNair.

McNair was a 1967 graduate of Carver High School in Lake City. In 1986, the school was renamed Ronald E. McNair Junior High School and is known as Ronald E. McNair Middle School. McNair was among the first graduates inducted into Florence County School District Three's Alumni Hall of Fame when it was created in 1993. NASA selected McNair as an astronaut candidate in January 1978. He died on January 28, 1986 in the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, that also took the lives of the Shuttle commander, Francis (Dick) R. Scobee, the pilot, Commander Michael J. Smith (USN), mission specialists, Lieutenant Colonel Ellison S. Onizuka (USAF), and Dr. Judith A. Resnik, and payload specialists, Gregory B. Jarvis and S. Christa McAuliffe.

"As NASA moves forward to carry out the agency's vision for space exploration, we'll continue to reflect on the contributions of our pioneers in space," said NASA's Associate Administrator for Education Dr. Adena Williams Loston. "Ronald McNair truly exemplified what it means to be an astronaut, an explorer, and a timeless role model. The NASA family will never forget the impact that his work will have on the future of space exploration," she added. Loston will attend memorial events.

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:

For more information about Dr. Ronald E. McNair on the Internet, visit:

For more information about the memorial events in Lake City, S.C. on the Internet, visit:


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