America lost a hero last week. You probably know John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth, on Feb. 20, 1962.
But that was not the beginning of his service to the country. He left Muskingum College (Ohio) in 1942 to fly fighter planes for the Marines in World War II. He also flew 63 combat missions in the Korean War and then became a test pilot, setting a transcontinental speed record in 1957. In 1959 he was selected as one of our first seven astronauts.
After retiring from NASA, he returned home to Ohio. He was elected to the Senate in 1974 and served 4 terms. As his Senate career was winding down, in 1998 he returned to space for 9 days on the Space Shuttle. He was 77.
Still not ready to completely retire, he became an Adjunct Professor at Ohio State University in the unit that was later named the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. He spent a lot of time on campus until a few months ago.
I enjoyed a story in the Columbus Dispatch today. The Editor told of a chance meeting with Annie and John Glenn two years ago. They had stopped at the newspaper office to pick up the morning paper. In a brief conversation Mr. Glenn talked about how valuable newspapers are to society. His own appreciation began with his first job: delivering the local paper in New Concord, Ohio.
John Glenn may be remembered for his courage and heroism in the air, but he was a down-to-earth, common sense, easy-to-talk-to gentleman. One of a kind.
Donald Trump is interviewing a wide range of potential Secretaries of State. Observers are debating whether the Secretary needs to be a seasoned diplomat or if an international businessman, such as the top man at Exxon Mobil, could deal with these foreign leaders without losing his shirt.
You have heard complaints that Trump only selects billionaires or Generals for top positions, but what could be wrong with selecting successful people. They seem to know how to hire, train and work with the good people, so why can’t it work in the federal government. I don’t know if it’s ever been tried before.
Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“What constitutes a life well spent? Love and admiration from your fellow men is all that anyone can ask… You must judge a man’s greatness by how much he will be missed.” WA #139, Aug. 9, 1925
“Diplomats are nothing but high class lawyers; some ain’t even high class.” WA #5, Jan. 14, 1923
“(Europe’s) diplomats are trained; it’s their life’s business. Ours make a campaign contribution and wake up in Belgium and don’t know which ocean they crossed to get there.” Jan. 19, 1935