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Willie McCool statue.

Statue of Willie McCool, Space Shuttle Pilot

Field review by the editors.

Lubbock, Texas

A heroic scale statue of Commander William "Willie" McCool pays tribute to the hometown boy who reached space as a shuttle astronaut. Unfortunately, as Willie piloted the Space Shuttle Columbia home from a successful 2003 mission, it disintegrated during reentry over the Texas panhandle. McCool and his six crewmates died.

The bronze statue of astronaut Willie is big -- a tall person is shorter than the admiring boy figure holding the model plane. The kid sculpture is meant to represent adventurous and curious children everywhere, but it also represents Willie's youthful interest in science.

Future adult Willie chooses to point skyward, rather than issue any futile time paradox warning ("Forget space! Stay in Lubbock!") that the gifted young Willie would certainly have ignored. He was meant to go to the stars.

Statue of Willie McCool, Space Shuttle Pilot

84th St., Lubbock, TX
I-27 exit 1 or 1A. Drive west on Hwy 289 for three miles. Exit onto Quaker Ave. and drive south to 84th St. Turn left and drive three blocks; the statue is on the left, next to the lake.
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