Monday, February 20, 2012

Military Monday - John Glenn

John Glenn
Marine, Astronaut, Senator
public domain photograph
It really has been 50 years ago today since I sneaked my transistor radio and earphone into school to listen to the news broadcasts of John Glenn's historic launch into space to become the first American to orbit the earth. As a youngster, I remember having fleeting thoughts of wanting to be an astronaut, which is rather ironic since I won't even get on an airplane these days.

Read the Life magazine article from February 2, 1962

Astronauts were the heroic cowboys of our generation. I savored all of the photographs in Life magazine. John Glenn quickly became my favorite of the original seven Mercury astronauts. Maybe it was because many people told my Dad that he looked like Glenn. Maybe that was because of their smiles and lack of hair. I adored his wife, Annie. Our other family connection to the Mercury astronauts was that the USS Intrepid was the recovery ship that picked up Scott Carpenter after his space flight. Dad served on the Intrepid during World War II.

John Glenn
Wilber, Nebraska
May, 1968
copyright Susan Petersen
So, it was quite a thrill for me on that Sunday in May, 1968 when Senator Robert F. Kennedy was campaigning in Nebraska. On the stage with him were John and Annie Glenn.  My photographs from that day are not very good quality, but I did capture the image of one of my heroes. Glenn went on to be a United States Senator from Ohio.

Glenn had a brief run for the Presidency in 1984. When the announcement was made, I was in New Orleans on business (I was still flying then). I grabbed a sheet of hotel stationery and wrote him a letter of support. I received a reply and even though it was addressed to me in Lincoln, LOUISIANA, the zip code was correct and I got the letter. His signature was probably an autopen, but even so, it meant something to me at the time.

I still enjoy watching the film, The Right Stuff, from time to time. One of my favorite actors, Ed Harris, did an amazing job with his portrayal of John Glenn.

John Glenn
Oldest Person in Space
public domain photo, NASA
Glenn wasn't done making history. In 1998, at the age of 77, he became the oldest person to fly in space.

So, on this day, February 20, 2012, I look back with very fond memories of the early years of space exploration and my favorite astronaut of them all, John Glenn.


  1. I bet you're glad now that you risked sneaking your tranny into school - how very daring of you! :-) Jo

  2. Great memories... thank you, so much, for sharing... ;-)