Apollo 1 Memorial Ceremony: A night to reflect and remember
By 2nd Lt. Alicia Wallace, 45th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 30, 2013
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 45th Space Wing hosted the 46th annual Apollo 1 Memorial Ceremony, Jan. 27 held at Launch Complex 34 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
The event honored three former space pioneers, Apollo 1 crew members, Command Pilot Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee, who were killed by a flash fire during a launch pad test of their Saturn 1B rocket, Jan. 27, 1967.
Grissom's wife, Betty Grissom, was in attendance at the event. During the ceremony, she was recognized for the sacrifices she made during Gus Grissom's career. She has attended the ceremony every year since the tragedy.
"You have given more than anyone could have asked," said Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 45th Space Wing commander. "And we are grateful to you for the sacrifices that you have made."
Also in attendance were family members and descendents of the spaceflight heroes. Gus Grissom's grandson, Cody, lit three symbolic candles to pay tribute to the astronauts.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, exactly 6:31 p.m., a bugler from the Naval Ordnance Test Unit played taps. This is the exact moment the flash fire occurred, killing all three astronauts.
General Cotton closed the evening's ceremonies with a tribute to the space heroes and a message of gratitude from the members of the wing.
"On behalf of the men and women of the 45th Space Wing, thank you for letting us be a part of this solemn anniversary," he said. "We thank and salute each and every one of you for the great things you have done for our nation."