Saturday, December 10, 2016

Godspeed, John Glenn

I can't say anything about John Glenn, who died this past Thursday at 95, that hasn't been already said.
A man who made public service his life and calling, he joined the Marines and flew 89 combat missions om two separate tours of duty in the Korean War, shooting down three enemy aircraft near the Yalu River.  Later, in peace time, he set a new speed record as a test pilot in a plane he flew from Los Angeles to New York - 3 hours, 23 minutes and 8.3 seconds.  All of that was a prelude to his great achievement as an astronaut in 1962, orbiting the earth thrice in five hours and putting the United States back on top in the space race against the Soviet Union.  He would return to space in 1998 on the shuttle Discovery, becoming, at 77, the oldest astronaut ever.  
Glenn represented his native Ohio with distinction as a United States Senator from 1975 to 1999.  He even could have been President; he ran for the office in 1984 and was considered the biggest threat to Walter Mondale, the eventual nominee, before Gary Hart came out of nowhere and spoiled everything.  (One more reason to dislike Gary Hart.)  
John Glenn made public service noble, which is sobering to consider at a time - now - when public service has become anything but noble . . . which led to Donald Trump's election to the Presidency.  (How ironic that Glenn checked out while hospitalized in Columbus just as Trump was blowing through town.)  We could use more people like John Glenn today, and his death leaves a big hole behind.  RIP. :-( 

No comments: