On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia came apart over Texas. Photos taken of the flag-draped caskets of the Columbia astronauts arriving at Dover AFB have been mis-identified in the press as U.S. casualties from the war in Iraq.
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NASA’s press release:
“April 23, 2004
NOTE TO EDITORS: n04-059
COLUMBIA CREW MISTAKENLY IDENTIFIED AS IRAQI WAR CASUALTIES
Many news organizations across the country are mistakenly identifying the flag-draped caskets of the Space Shuttle Columbia’s crew as those of war casualties from Iraq.
Editors are being asked to confirm that the images used in news reports are in fact those of American casualties and not those of the NASA astronauts who were killed Feb.1, 2003, in the Columbia tragedy.
An initial review of the images featured on the Internet site www.thememoryhole.org shows that more than 18 rows of images from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware are actually photographs of honors rendered to Columbia’s seven astronauts.
News organizations across the world have been publishing and distributing images featured on the web site.
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The complete set of Columbia astronaut photos from Dover AFB is here.
Due to very heavy internet traffic, the photos are also mirrored here.