Kadena garden salutes lost shuttle astronauts
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — A new Japanese-style memorial garden dedicated to the space shuttle Columbia crew has been unveiled by Commander Fleet Activities Okinawa.
The 2,000-square-foot sandstone garden has seven large stones in memory of astronauts Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, Rick Husband, William McCool and Ilan Ramon, who died Feb. 1, 2003, when the spacecraft broke up upon re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere.
Local Japanese engineer Takashi Kuwahara designed the garden based on a similar memorial garden in Misawa, said Lt. Edward Murray, Jr., CFAO public works officer.
“He found the plants, stones and with a few adjustments, we came up with this unique design,” Murray said. “I’m happy with the garden.”
It houses some 17 varieties of plants, a fountain, three flowered areas with small groupings of stones and two small lanterns that light automatically at dust.
“This used to be a parking lot,” Murray said. “We’re happy with the end result and we hope everyone will come by CFAO just to look at our memorial Japanese garden.”