John Glenn died today at the age of 95. He was a true American hero. He served in both World War 2 and Korea, flying 149 combat missions. His nickname was “magnet ass” because of all the enemy flak he attracted. Later he became a test pilot and set a transcontinental flight record.
The world got to know him when he was selected as one of the Mercury Seven astronauts. It is hard for many to understand the excitement they generated. The thought of going into space seemed almost unbelievable. This was against the backdrop of the Cold War.
The Soviets were orbiting the earth while we were still doing suborbital flights. There had been many problems with the more powerful rocket. Glenn didn’t hesitate to volunteer and became the first American to orbit the earth.
After leaving NASA, he turned to politics. He served in the Senate for eighteen years and made an unsuccessful run for the presidency. He made history again when he became the oldest person to go into space.
I once had the opportunity to see him. He came to my town in 1968 to campaign for his close friend, Robert Kennedy.
He led an incredible life of service and hopefully will be remembered for many generations.