Today is the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s space flight. It was a different era, a time of competition for the high frontier. Three times around Earth was an accomplishment beyond comparison. In his 1999 memoir, Glenn described the perils of his trip and the challenges in space flight that followed.
Glenn and his contemporaries inspired a generation to learn science and mathematics. I can remember being crowded into an elementary school classroom with many other students to watch the mission on a small black and white television. In the years that followed, teachers included more TV broadcasts into their lessons as we watched astronauts test their resolve and their equipment. Through space flight our teachers encouraged our passion about science.
We need John Glenns who will take bold steps; who will take the risks; and who will challenge our capacities to improve. We need them for inspiration for us to take risks. It seems that today, we insist on everything being risk free. We continually need inspiration to reach outside ourselves.
After his flight in Glenn’s closing remarks to Congress he said, ” As our knowledge of the universe increases, may God grant us the wisdom and guidance to use it wisely.”
We continually need new examples of excellence to help us and our children have reasons to look back and to keep counting and honoring incredibile accomplishments. Thanks, John Glenn for the inspiration to show us how far we can go.