It was five years ago today that the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas while returning from a mission. The folks in Nacogdoches remember it well.
It was this town that became the epicenter of the search for whatever was left of the shuttle. More than 85,000 pieces that comprised only about 38 percent of the craft were eventually recovered.
The tragedy has a personal connection for me. My mother lives in Palestine, about 60 miles west of Nacogdoches. Pieces of the shuttle were found there, too, including the small camcorder that recorded the final minutes of the crew as they began re-entry. This article describes the experiences of several residents in the area on the day of the disaster. A good photo gallery of the debris is found here.
In my younger days I spent a lot of time tromping through the piney woods of deep East Texas. Believe me, they will still be finding pieces of the shuttle in that vast forest decades from now.