Trump calls Kalpana Chawla American hero

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Kalpana Chawla was the first Indian American astronaut.(Photo: NASA/IANS)

NEW YORK – President Donald Trump issued a proclamation declaring May as ‘Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month’ and called Indian American astronaut Kalpana Chawla an American hero for devoting her life to the space program, inspiring many girls to become astronauts.

Chawla was the first Indian woman in space and was among the seven crew members who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003 when the craft disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

“Indian American Kalpana Chawla was the first woman of Indian descent to fly in space, and became an American hero for her devotion to the Space Shuttle program and its various missions transporting cargo and crew to and from the International Space Station. Chawla’s courage and passion continue to serve as an inspiration for millions of American girls who dream of one day becoming astronauts,” Trump said.

Chawla was posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.

Trump also declared May as ‘Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month’ saying “through their industriousness and love of country, our nation has enjoyed the privileges and enrichments of multiple innovations and societal advancements.”

According to PTI, there are more than 20 million Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders who value hard work, an honest living, and a commitment to the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“For these reasons, America cherishes its connections with the Indo-Pacific region, which shares an appreciation for these principles, Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage help to reinforce these relationships, which are stronger today than ever before,” Trump added.