Congressman Sherman Remembers Ilan Ramon and Mourns Loss of Space Shuttle Columbia


February 1, 2003

[Washington, DC] — Congressman Brad Sherman today mourned the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia crew, remembering Israel’s hero, Colonel Ilan Ramon who visited the San Fernando Valley on August 26 and 27, 2000.

"Today we were met with a tragic reminder that as we pioneer the reaches beyond our earth, we tempt unearthly risks. My heart goes out to the families of the Columbia crew, and to the men and women of NASA. People all over the world share in their grief and suffering," Sherman said.

"The Columbia crew embraced their challenge with phenomenal spirit and courage. And as Ilan Ramon is a hero to Israel, the bravery of the Columbia crew and the boldness of their mission will continue to inspire the world; their sacrifice will be remembered."

"I came to know Ilan Ramon when he and his wife Rona came to visit my district as my guests in August 2000. Ilan was an inspiration to all of us who believe that the future of humankind includes space, and to all of us who support a close U.S.-Israel relationship. I was proud to show Ilan the Boeing Rocketdyne facility in Canoga Park, where the engines for all the space shuttles are made. Ilan was generous with his time and was our keynote speaker at a town meeting at Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills."

In August 2000, Ilan Ramon visited the Los Angeles area at the request of Congressman Brad Sherman to discuss issues concerning national security and space exploration needs of Israel and the United States.

He and Sherman toured Boeing’s Rocketdyne facility in Canoga Park, where the reusable space shuttle engines are built. The international collaborative nature of today’s space program was highlighted, as astronauts from around the world are thoroughly versed in the workings of Rocketdyne engines during their systems training. With over 5,000 employees, Boeing is the largest private employer in the West San Fernando Valley.

Ramon also joined Sherman at a special town hall meeting, Sunday afternoon at Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills.