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Grand Basileus Tony Knox
For Immediate Release
Contact: Terry W. Spicer, Publicist
Epiphany Public Relations,
Telephone: (919) 830-9049

Memorial Tribute Held at NASA for Brother Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., 1st African American Astronaut in the Nation Cape Canaveral, FL

(December 8, 2017) Friday, December 8, 2017 was a stellar day of history, legacy and well deserved recognition as Brother Major Robert H. Lawrence, Jr., the first African American Astronaut was rightfully lifted before the world in reverent remembrance. A grand Memorial Tribute was held at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on the 50th Anniversary of his tragic death. A distinguished delegation of the Men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated attended led by Brother Antonio F. Knox, Sr., 40th Grand Basileus. The room was filled with the incredible legacy of the Space Shuttle Program including former and current Astronauts, families of those lost in service, NASA Administration, government officials, youth groups from around the state, loving family members including his sister, Dr. Barbara Lawrence and the great Men of Omega.

An Air Force pilot, Major Lawrence was training another pilot in the Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program on that fateful day in 1967 when a crash of the F-104 Starfighter that they were in killed him at the young age of 32. He was a brilliant scholar, obtaining a Ph.D. while attending The Ohio State University. He was chosen for the Astronaut Training Program in 1965 and even though his tenure was short lived, his accomplishments were monumental and barrier breaking. Grand Basileus Knox stated, “It’s an honor to participate and be a part of this important moment in history. Because of the man that he was, he continues to inspire others to live their dreams. Because of the work that he did and the risk that he took to go out and help others, people are still inspired and learning from his example today. We stand on his shoulders and I stand on the shoulders of every Grand Basileus before me. We Are One!” Brother Major General Charles Bolden, USMC, Retired, was a Space Shuttle Commander who also made a historic first by becoming the first African American Administrator at NASA; the 12th. During the awesome event, former Florida Senator, Brother Anthony C. “Tony” Hill and Senator Thad Altman gave greetings of welcome. The Presentation of Colors were made by the Viera High School Army JROTC Color Guard. Marva King sang the National Anthem and the Invocation was given by Pastor Jarvis Wash. Eileen Collins, Colonel, USAF, Retired, introduced the Special Guests. She was the first female pilot and the first female Commander of a Space Shuttle. An outstanding Video documentary produced by Omega Psi Phi was presented and moved everyone in the audience. Other speakers included Robert Cabana, Colonel, USMC, Retired; Dr. Barbara Lawrence; Dr. Herman White, Jr.; James “Abe” Abrahamson, Lt. General, USAF, Retired and Robert Crippen, Captain, USN, Retired. The Winston Scott Cosmic Jazz Ensemble played during the Tribute. Following the close, the family and guests in the audience walked over to the Space Mirror Memorial where the names of fallen Astronauts are etched into history. In a moving tribute, the family placed a wreath beneath his name. The Men of Omega lifted their voices in beautiful tribute and a private luncheon was held.

Men of Omega in attendance with Brother Knox included Brother Dorsey Miller, 35th Grand Basileus; Brother Lloyd Jordan, Esq., 36th Grand Basileus; Brother George H. Grace, 37th Grand Basileus; Brother Dr. Andrew Ray, Immediate Past (39th) Grand Basileus; Brother Dr. David Marion, 1 st Vice Grand Basileus; Brother Dr. Staccato Powell, Grand Chaplain; Brother Kenny Rodgers, Grand Keeper of Records and Seal; Dr. Terrence M. Augillard, Grand Marshal; Brother Victor Bruinton, Chief of Staff; Brother James H. Cistrunk, 7th District Representative; Brother Howard Jackson, 6th District Representative; Brother Dr. Kenneth Terrell, 9th District Representative; Brother Darryl Jones, 10th District Representative, Brother Clifford Wimberly, Sr., Florida State Representative; Brother Kevin Woodall, 1st Vice State Representative; Brother Cyril Gurreau, Jr., Florida State Chaplain; Brother Dave Alford, IHQ and local Chapters of the 7th District.
Since its humble beginnings on the Howard University campus, the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity continues to be on the front line, leveraging its power, influence and more than 100 years of commitment to the uplift of our people and our communities.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. was founded on November 17, 1911, at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and is the first international fraternal organization to be founded on the campus of a historically black college.
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