As one who grew up during the Space Race, I am very sad to hear of the death of John Glenn. He was a true, American Hero. Glenn died at the age of 95, living a full and rich life. A veteran of both WW2 and the Korean War, John Glenn also served in the Marine Corps as a record-setting test pilot before joining NASA. He became one of the original, and the last of the Mercury 7 astronauts and went on to be the first American to orbit the Earth in his space capsule named Friendship 7. NASA did not want to risk him in further spaceflights, so Glenn went on to try his hand at politics. After a few failures, he finally won the U.S. Senate seat and represented the State of Ohio, and America, from 1975 through 1999. In 1984, he ran for president but lost to Walter Mondale. In 1998, John Glenn returned to space at the age of 77, flying aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, becoming the oldest human to fly in space.
So much for his basic biography. John Glenn epitomized the phrase of the ′Quiet Hero′. He didn′t brag, he didn′t swagger about. He never participated in the usual hijinks that his fellow Alpha Males engaged in. No fast cars or fast women for John Glenn. He married his high school sweetheart, Annie Margaret Castor in 1943 and they remained husband and wife for 73 years until his death yesterday.
I cannot fault him for being a Democrat. Back at the time, in the early 1960s, the Democratic Party was much different than it is today. Far more centrist. Many of his contemporaries were true patriots. They loved and believed in America. About the only real blemish on the career of John Glenn was being part of the so-called, Keating Five in the Savings and Loan scandal. I suppose some would also cast doubts about him being a Freemason, too!
When I think about John Glenn, I immediately recall that line from the movie ″The Bridges of Toko Ri″, the one which Ronald Reagan made more famous when he echoed the lines by Fredric March at the end, ″Where do we get such men?″ We got John Glenn from the small town of Cambridge, Ohio, sort of in the middle of the eastern half of the Buckeye State. He spent all of his adult life traveling across, and above, the world in the service of our country. In the service of freedom loving people everywhere. The man had guts, and, what some call, ′The Right Stuff′. There is no doubt about that!
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