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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

JOHN GLENN AND BEYOND


Funny how fast life passes us by.

In 1962 I was in high school, discovering the world, planning for college and living in a crazy and unstable world. The Cuban Missile Crises took us to the brink of nuclear war, the Cold War being in full drive, and NASA was starting to take us closer to the moon. John F. Kennedy was taking us onto a “New Frontier” and as a student I became more politically aware, having adult discussions with dad about politics.

The ‘sub-orbital’ flight of Alan B. Sheppard and the first orbital flight of John Glenn three times around the Earth captivated America’s imagination after it was stunned by the Russians with Sputnik, a devastating assault to our national pride. How could anyone in this world do it better than America? I learned that they didn’t do it better, they just did it first, we got to the moon, and that was the objective after all.

Rock and Roll was the music of our times replacing the 40’s music of our parents, and cars were changing in design every year. The death of Marilyn Monroe, the biggest sex symbols in history, was a result of an overdose of sleeping pills, with an additional overdose of conspiracies surrounding the incident. Some said that her death was involved in covering up her alleged romantic relations with the late President Kennedy, by his younger brother Bobby Kennedy.

When I found out about the death of John Glenn, it took me back to 1962 once again. Dad with his old cars and his devotion to his job, Mom, the center of the universe as it appeared to me and my own part-time jobs saving for college and helping out the household as I did.

But that is past, just like john Glenn, forever gone but never forgotten. But it seems like yesterday that very handsome astronaut reported back to Earth on his voyage into history, the TV set to the live feed back to Earth. How was it all possible, and would be realize the unimaginable: the moon?

Kennedy took hold of our imaginations as youngsters, and Glenn took it into space, the world was a young person. The hope and dreams we all shared were funneled either through the White House or the floating down in the middle of the sea of a capsule, American of course!

But 1962 and John Glenn will forever be the beginnings of the modern era, separating the past from the future, so we as young adults could find the future and look for the new days ahead.

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