HEMPHILL, Texas (KETK) — A tragic incident happened 20 years ago when the Shuttle Columbia STS 107 was destroyed.

“All of these sonic booms, I didn’t know what it was,” said Marsha Cooper, President of the Columbia Board.

She was a part of the recovery team in 2003.

“We started flagging out and taking volunteers. It started off (as) just a few people that Saturday and Sunday. We had thousands of people here and there the next two weeks. It was thousands and thousands of people, and it was all a lot of volunteer people in the county, a lot of people that came took off work to walk with us,” said Cooper.

Like many national tragedies, many remember where they were and what they were doing at the time of the accident. 

“As the space shuttle re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, as everybody knows there was a problem with the outer scan of the tiles. It essentially burned up coming into the atmosphere,” said Bill Oats, the Associate Director of the Texas A&M Forest Service.

He also spoke about the rededication ceremony Wednesday morning.

“Seven trees were planted here in this park. We call this Columbia Court here in honor of the seven astronauts that perished on the shuttle,” said Oats.

He added, their plan was to plant two more trees for the first responders who lost their lives during the recovery.

Cooper also shared why the Patricia Huffman Smith Museum is special.

“Their legacy is still going, and we’re still trying to provide to our youth and the next generation of astronauts, said Cooper.

The brave souls will never be forgotten.