The Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Committee on Jan. 28 placed a wreath on the monument in Little Tokyo’s Weller Court dedicated to the astronaut’s memory.

Tuesday marked the 34th anniversary of the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger shortly after liftoff, which killed Onizuka and his six crewmates. Weller Street was renamed Onizuka Street after the tragedy.

The wreath was also placed in memory of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Kona native Onizuka was recognized Saturday at the 20th annual Ellison Onizuka Science Day at University of Hawaii at Hilo, which was attended by students from across the state. Speakers included Onizuka’s brother Claude and astronaut Shane Kimbrough.

At University of Colorado-Boulder, Onizuka’s alma mater, the astronauts who perished in the Challenger and Columbia disasters will be remembered at an annual memorial event on Feb. 2. Columbia crew member Kalpana Chawla was also a CU Boulder alum.

Upcoming: The 33rd Onizuka Space Science Day will be held on March 7 at El Camino College. For more information, call (310) 660-3487 or email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.