Monday, February 20, 2012

Godspeed, John Glenn

Has it really been 50 years since I was sitting in Mrs. Peters' fifth grade classroom at Henry L. Barger Elementary School, Chattanooga, Tennessee, watching as John Glenn was launched into orbit? Well, in many ways it seems like 100 years when I think of all that has happened to me and to the world since 1962. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I'm not going to give a history lesson here, so look it up - meaning, Google it.

The Space Race looms large in the lives of early baby boomers - the excitement, the television coverage, the striving for excellence, astronauts, new math, those pesky Russians. And maybe it's only our small slice of the generational pie that even cares about "space" anymore. Every time I watch those early space launches or the moon landings I think, wow!, how on earth did we manage to do that? What amazing resolve, talent, and courage it took to pull that off decades before personal computers, high-tech materials, and the internet.

John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth in space. He was in a teeny tiny tin can called the Friendship 7. The whole thing still gives me goosebumps. Even after 50 years. Watch for yourself. Godspeed, John Glenn.

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