I just learned of the death of John Glenn. He was 95 years old yet his passing still came as a shock to me.
John Glenn’s 3-orbit flight in Friendship 7 occurred on February 20, 1962. I was 48 days away from turning 8 years old and I was an avid space nut. I had a Mercury astronaut poster on my bedroom wall. I watched every launch I could and knew all of the facts and figures about our space program. I was devastated by the Apollo 1 fire in 1967. I was captivated by the TV pictures sent from the moon by Apollo 11 in 1969. During the Apollo 13 mission in 1970, I walked around my high school with a transistor radio and an earphone in my ear so I wouldn’t miss any of the drama. I was in Florida for the Challenger disaster in 1986 and was devastated once again. I cried when we lost the Discovery astronauts in 2003. And I finally saw a shuttle launch in person just before the program ended.
John Glenn was my hero. Of the original seven astronauts, he was larger than life. He was the first in orbit. He was the best. I wanted to be an astronaut so I could be like John Glenn. Today, I feel like a part of my childhood has gone.
Godspeed, John Glenn.