Exclusive Eyewitness Report – The Space Shuttle Columbia’s Demise (2003)

Set Up (01 Feb 2019) by Gary “Uncle G” Brown @GBrown0816 

Tells the story of my watching the Space Shuttle Columbia blow up while driving, and on my way to work. I did 10 years with NAPA Auto Parts; delivery driver. Never had any higher aspirations than to make deliveries for them. Not all good stories. This would be one of those. A special edition; The Official Michael Bruce Mailing List. Nothing here is edited. I even kept the web-links. Pertaining to myself, should anything be truly archived regarding my writing, then this would be a sure thing. Horrible, and something I really don’t care to re-live. Yet, for the record, and being too lazy to re-write what I already typed 16 years ago, here is my eyewitness account via viewing thru my windshield, seeing seven people perish. The visual/memory fucked with my head for a while. I thought about it every day for some time. Trying to live in today, unless my past could do some good for an individual, my train of thought is usually straight ahead. What happened here, and not to sound callous, happened very much, in the yesterday. Saying that, here’s exactly what was shared online (Yahoo Groups) regarding the disaster that happened in the sky above, that early Saturday morning.

Subj: Re: The Space Shuttle Columbia.  

Date: 2/3/03 12:13:29 AM Central Standard Time

From: GBrown8287@aol.com

To: TheOfficialMichaelBruceMailingList@yahoogroups.com

February 3, 2003

Some of you know that TOMBML originates from the U.S. in Houston, Texas. “Space City” as Michael likes to refer to it as.

I’m sure by now everyone reading this has heard the news about the space shuttle Columbia. Yesterday I received this e-mail from a TOMBML subscriber;

Date: 2/1/03 9:39:30 AM Central Standard Time

“I just turned on the radio and caught the news. Are you guys cool down there?”

My Reply:

Cool, meaning okay? Yes. Thank you for asking. Talked with MB Saturday night. He found out about the Columbia space shuttle incident while watching the news. I, on the other hand, found out about it a different way.

Running late for work Saturday morning, I ended up still in my car driving towards my job, at around eight in the morning. Only having a short distance to go, a bright light in the sky caught my attention. I was heading north. Such a beautiful morning. Warm temperature. Not a cloud in the sky anywhere.  

A large orange, red, and yellow object almost straight ahead of me, just a little to the west, grabbed my attention. Fire in the sky. Just suddenly appeared. Thoughts raced through my head trying to comprehend what it was I was all of the sudden seeing. Reminded me of a rocket going off. The blast at liftoff. Wasn’t going in an upward direction. This was racing across the sky. Happened so fast. Immediately what followed was a very bright burst of silver, and white light. Somewhat comparable to the sun shining on a piece of sheet metal. A million times stronger. Nothing else in the perfectly blue sky. The vision had me believing it was a metal object, reflecting the sun’s rays.

Traveling east, very fast, leaving a white trail, it suddenly broke up. Ever seen a Roman candle display? Another bright light, with what appeared to be six to ten yellowish objects, having a white glow on the outside of them, scattered heading mostly north, a few to the east. In the letter “Y” formation.

Meanwhile, I’m still driving straight ahead. For what was maybe just seconds, completely unaware of anything around me except for what I was focused on. Jets I reasoned. As a kid, when in the Boy Scouts I saw fighter jets do exercises. Eyes back on the road, I made a turn and pulled into work. Parked the car, got out, and went about my business. Did not give it another thought.

NAPA - Gessner Road - sometime in 2006 - photo by GBPhoto: NAPA Auto Parts (Gessner RD Houston TX USA  sometime in the 2000s)

Was not long, before a coworker told me the Columbia crashed. As more news came in, I associated what I saw with the tragic story that was starting to unfold. The workday went as usual. As the hours passed, more details came out.

The city of Houston was completely taken over by this catastrophe. The talk radio station I sometimes listen to dropped regular programming to give minute-by-minute information as it came in. The city newspaper came out with an extra edition by late afternoon. Giving fifty cents to a guy selling these on a street corner, I first saw the pictures of the astronauts killed. Photos of the first debris found were included. Photos of what I witnessed. The thing is, those images, and whatever I saw during the night watching the news on TV, have yet to really compare with the sight that held my attention earlier in the day.

Being in Houston, I heard no actual sound of the Columbia breaking up. Those closer to Dallas/Fort Worth did. Debris including human remains is estimated to be scattered from five hundred to fifteen hundred square miles across Louisiana and Texas.

The TV, radio, and the Internet are filled with what has happened, and what’s gone on since. This is, after all, a mailing list about a musician.

Speaking on behalf of MB, those associated with TOMBML, and speaking of course for myself, our thoughts and prayers with the astronauts who passed away, and to all those who they left behind.  

Gary Brown

Coordinator / Webkeeper of The Official Michael Bruce Mailing List/Website.





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End of Story

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