John Glenn is an American Hero. I do not use that description lightly. I’ve known John Glenn’s name since I was a child. I’ve spoken about my memories of the Moon Landing in 1969 and my love of Star Trek throughout my life, but John Glenn epitomized so many of the passions in my life.
I didn’t want to be a princess; I wanted to be an astronaut (and about a thousand other things). I watched anything space related that was televised including shuttle launches and landings. I’ve visited the Air and Space Museum at The Smithsonian. I took my class on a field trip to the Cradle of Aviation “museum” at Roosevelt Field when it was just a warehouse, but it had the space equipment to see and explore. I can still remember visiting Kennedy Space Center on one of our family trips to Florida. I still have a stuffed astronaut doll/pillow in a plastic bag somewhere in my garage. Even the mold on it won’t get me to throw it away. I have horrible, vivid memories of the Challenger.
John Glenn was a pioneer; a space man. He was gthe last surviving member of the original Mercury 7 astronauts. He was the first American to orbit the Earth and was only the fifth man in space. Prior to that he was a member of the Marine Corps and he flew combat missions in World War II and the Korean War. He broke a transcontinental speed record flying from Los Angeles to New York, going at supersonic speed. He was a Senator from Ohio, serving four terms with the Democratic party, leaving his mark on my political junkie self. And then after all of that, he returned to space again, becoming the oldest man to travel in space when he served aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
And more important than those milestones was the kind of person he was. Kind and thougtful, patriotic and dedicated, gracious and never losing sight of where he was from and still encouraging new generations to strive upward and onward, ever moving forward.
Please read this remembrance from journalist, Connie Schultz:
I just found out that this is NOT an official NASA tumblr. It is a fan site that posts photos and other information. It still looks interesting and the content seems to be exactly what I thought it was, but since I recommended it, I wanted to mention that it is not official in case something offensive gets posted there in the future.
I will continue to follow them.
I grew up in the 70s and 80s.
It is family lore that I watched the Moon Landing. (I have an Uncle Neil and an Uncle Buzzy, and I was a confused toddler).
I went to Cape Canaveral, although I think it was the John F. Kennedy Space Center when I went there. I may even still have the stuffed Astronaut doll from back then.
I was born the same year as Star Trek.
I used to have the Tribble episode memorized and could recite it verbatim from any point in the script.
Space is not only the final frontier, it is a home place for me, a belonging place. Space: 1999, Logan’s Run, Lost in Space, Star Wars (the last film my family went to as a family), Firefly, any and all space voyages, it was all I wanted was to be an Astronaut.
It’s crazy and an impossible dream, but television made it kind of possible.
I watched shuttle launches instead of working.
I remember the Challenger and the Columbia. My grandfather had a framed and signed picture of the Apollo 13 astronauts.
NASA has a Tumblr.
Go there and be amazed.