John Glenn, Boy Scout, Marine, Astronaut, Senator, Patriot, was a great American hero, and also that very rare being: A great man who was also a good man, a humble man, a man who went to the heavens not only in a space ship, but in his heart, with an abiding faith in God.
There are many many tributes to John Glenn on his passing at age 95 on Dec. 8, 2016, for his heroic achievements. But for me, what struck me was a story I read years ago in the book “Right Stuff” about the Mercury Astronauts. The very “down to earth” story about Glenn, as a man, as a husband, went like this:
Then Vice President Lyndon Johnson decided that a great publicity opportunity presented itself should Johnson go to Glenn’s home to comfort Mrs. Glenn while John was off on astronaut duty with the whole country watching in anticipation. So, Johnson arrived in his limousine and his entourage, including media, at the Glenn home.
John’s wife, however, was very shy, including about a stutter in her speech, and did not want to have to participate in any media event. So, she wouldn’t let Vice President Johnson in. Instead, she locked the door and telephoned John, informing him of what was going on and that it distressed her.
John Glenn, whom the media dubbed “the Boy Scout among the Mercury Astronauts,” knew, of course, that embarrassing the Vice President could mean the end of Glenn’s Astronaut career. So, what did Glenn do? He stood up for his wife, no matter the risk of outraging Vice President Johnson and ending John’s career. John told his wife not to let Johnson in, and went on to raise holy hell that Johnson would do what he did to the distress of Mrs. Glenn, which would not be tolerated even if Johnson was Vice President.
John Glenn had incredible courage, indeed — from sitting alone atop the Mercury when there was a very high risk that he might die at any moment from an explosion at blastoff (one in four attempts failed), in Space, or coming home. But he also had the courage, the manly chivalry, to stand up in defense of his wife, even though the offender was the Vice President of the U.S. who had the power to end Glenn’s career in a peeve.
So, Mrs. Glenn remained inside behind her locked door as the uninvited visitor, VP Lyndon Johnson, sat outside stewing in embarrassment as the Boy Scout, Marine, Astronaut, American Hero — the “Man,” John Glenn, would not retreat. “What a man,” as used to be said of such men as John Glenn “back in the day” in the pre-Feminist Movement emasculation of American males.
John Glenn survived his Mercury flight, the first American to orbit the earth in space, and survived his face-down with the Vice President of the U.S. in defense of his wife’s right to choose with whom to speak, when, and how. That was perhaps a “little thing,” a small act in the scope of all that John Glenn did in a magnificent, honorable, heroic life, including returning to outer space at the age of 77. But that “little thing,” standing up for his wife no matter the risk to his career, perhaps a relatively small act among John Glenn’s many heroic acts, meant a lot to me when I first read it, and now. That love, that marriage of the Glenns, lasted seventy (70) years by the time of John Glenn’s death.
John Glenn was an extraordinary American hero, but he was also what American men used to be: First and foremost– “A Protector.” Males willing to do what is necessary to protect others, including females, no matter the consequences (and no matter the shrieks and howls of the politically correct elitists and the feminists (i.e., female supremacists) perpetually aggrieved by manliness).
John Glenn, a great and good man, a humble heroTRIBUTE TO JOHN GLENN–INCLUDING RECOGNITION , said his historic Mercury flight into space, a great leap forward in science, made his faith in God stronger, not weaker. May the God John Glenn served now embrace and keep him; may the country which he served always honor and never forget him. Godspeed, John Glenn. Godspeed.
John Glenn was part of the Mercury program, not Apollo.
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