John Glenn, space cowboy/hero/studDecember 13th, 2016
John Glenn, space cowboy/hero/stud. His death triggered memories and thoughts. In 1962 when Mr. Glenn was shot into the wild blue/black yonder of outer space on a ball of flames my grammar school, St. Catherine’s on the south side of Chicago, was assembled in the school auditorium to witness this magnificent historical event. Hundreds of us stared at what was maybe a 10 inch screen and marveled at the liftoff of Friendship 7. Three global orbits later at speeds of more than 17,000 miles an hour, John Glenn and his capsule splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean. Seven years later, Americans would be the first and only humans thus far to walk on the moon. Parallel to our space program in the ‘60s, the Vietnam war was raging. Two sets of American endeavors with much different results. Death, carnage and mangled soldiers (who still suffer to this very day) were the results of the Vietnam war. Imagination, technology and the domination of the Untied States as achievers was the banner the space program afforded us. We went from the Wright brothers to the moon in 66 years. Coming off our World War II victory, we took all that post war energy and put it into our country. That’s what made America great on the world stage, through industry, and of course, our space program. However, somewhere along the way NASA seemed to be treated like the ne’er do well cousin with funding being cut and programs put on ice. Is it mere coincidence that the more time and money we spend fighting wars, the more we see it has chipped away at our manufacturing prowess and economy?
John Glenn who was shoe horned into a capsule the size of a barrel and proved man can reach way beyond his gravitational boundaries will be remembered long after all these current day dictators, despots and warlords are long forgotten for their contributions of death and destruction. So how about more money and support for our space program, which enriches our lives on so many levels and less money into military weapons. More rockets into space and less into villages.