On the Passing of John Glenn, Personal Notes.
It’s taken me a while to sort out my feelings about the passing of John Glenn. It has been one of the few times in my life that I have shed tears for someone I did not know personally. It is hard to explain just how much he meant to some of my generation, a hero and patriot for the ages.
He was a war hero to be sure, in the desperately brutal struggle against the Japanese Empire, and again against Kim Il Sung’s ambition in the Korean War.
His major achievement, his monument, was an achievement of peace though. His first orbital flight was every bit as courageous and risky as any feat of arms. We know now that his chances were put at 50/50, no better. He knew that, of course, but he went anyway.
He was a tremendous and personal inspiration.
I wrote to him shortly after the flight (I was 12 then, about to turn 13). I explained that my dad was in the Air Force and I wanted to be a pilot and possibly an astronaut. The response I got was undoubtedly prepared by NASA PR but I treasured it nevertheless. It advised me to study hard and believe in myself. I did not do as much of that as I could have, but by God I did become a pilot, though not an astronaut.
We are honored to have had him with us this long.
Fair skies and green lights, Missileman.