John Glenn -- Much More than "just" another American hero!


Oh, yes. John Glenn was the first American to circle the earth in a space capsule. And, at age 77, he became the oldest person to go into space. But, John Glenn was much more than that.
On a personal note, when I was in my early years as a teacher, TPS had Career Coordinators who would do a variety of things to help engage students. One of them worked with me to arrange conference calls with well-known, successful people, using a special speaker telephone which had microphones attached to it. That was cutting edge technology around 1980, folks! One such conversation was with then U.S. Senator John Glenn. I had prepared my students well, and they did ask appropriate questions. John Glenn could have not have been more respectful of them, and more encouraging to them. He took time out of his very busy schedule to make time for these 6th graders. Thank you, John Glenn!
John Glenn was a man of the highest personal integrity. He lived a life that -- by its example -- set the standards to which everyone should ascribe. He was married to his lovely wife, and high school sweetheart, Annie, until the day he died, over 73 years later! John Glenn refused to allow then Vice President Lyndon Johnson to hold a meeting with Annie for the sake of TV and propaganda, even though the notoriously imperious LBJ insisted upon it. John did this because Annie had a pronounced speech impediment, and shied away from public appearances.
John Glenn lost a bitter electoral struggle in the Democratic Primary for the United States Senate to Howard Metzenbaum in 1970. Metzenbaum lost the General Election to Robert Taft, Jr. Later, Metzenbaum was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Governor John Gilligan to fill the term of William Saxbe, who had been named U.S. Attorney General by Richard Nixon. Glenn turned the tables on Metzenbaum by running against Metzenbaum in the Democratic Primary in 1974, and defeating him. Then Glenn won the General Election for the U.S. Senate. Metzenbaum then ran for the Taft-held seat in 1976, and won a contested Democratic Primary, then defeated Taft in the General Election. What I'm trying to establish is that, even though both Glenn and Metzenbaum were both Democrats, they really could not stand each other throughout the 1970s and most of the 1980s.
When George Voinovich was running against Metzenbaum for the U.S. Senate in 1988, his campaign charged Metzenbaum with being soft on child pornography, citing some procedural votes Metzenbaum had cast. John Glenn made a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate which clearly stated his outrage at the charges, and his full support for Howard Metzenbaum as someone who would never be soft on child pornography. Metzenbaum went over to Glenn following Glenn's speech. He thanked Glenn for the support, and the two men walked off of the Senate floor together. That is an illustration of just how high the moral character of John Glenn was. Even this man with whom Glenn had had strong personal conflicts would be supported by John Glenn, when Glenn felt that Metzenbaum was being unfairly labeled and attacked.
In the U.S. Senate, no one was looked upon with more admiration -- on both sides of the aisle -- than was John Glenn. He was a true moderate. John Glenn was NOT an ideologue at all. He was a man of the highest integrity. John Glenn looked at every issue to determine what he thought would be in the best interests of the citizens of the United States, and the citizens of the State of Ohio. Then, he would take a position. John Glenn never viewed any issue through the limiting prism of ideological tunnel vision!
John Glenn was seriously considered for VPOTUS in 1976. Jimmy Carter chose Walter Mondale instead. Glenn ran for the Democratic nomination for POTUS in 1984. He lost out to Mondale once again. Ronald Reagan won a second term that year. Even though Reagan is a conservative icon, IMHO Glenn would have had a much better chance of beating him than did Mondale. And, also IMHO, John Glenn would have been an exemplary POTUS. It just was not meant to be. John Glenn will go down in history as one of the greatest Americans who was never a POTUS.
[Edited from the original post to correct for errors. Sorry.]

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John Glenn was indeed a great man but what exactly is your definition of a "hero"?

Hope I didn't offend anyone!

above and beyond our daily lives. In those early days, being an astronaut was an extremely dangerous challenge. Some astronauts lost their lives, for example Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chafee died in a fire on a launchpad in 1967. And, of course, there was the near tragedy of Apollo 13 which was made into a hit movie, but the positive outcome was hardly predictable.

In addition, before his being an astronaut, John Glenn volunteered for the Navy's flight school and flew combat missions in World War II. He later flew many combat missions in the Korean War.
To me, his willingness to place himself in extreme personal danger over and over again for the betterment of his fellow Americans makes John Glenn a hero. And, as I pointed out above, his personal integrity and morality always engendered admiration among those who were fortunate enough to know him, work with him, and call him friend.

BTW -- I just read in a DeVilbiss Alumni newsletter that Hilton Murphy and John Glenn were friends in college and they became lifelong friends. I knew Hilton myself. He was a very successful coach at DeVilbiss, and was later an administrator with TPS.

I think the term "hero" has been used too much lately to describe individuals that maybe better adjectives would be more appropriate and accurate.
My definition of a hero is someone who knowingly risked or gave up their life to save another or others life.
Examples: The soldier who falls on grenade thrown into a hummer to save the other occupants in the vehicle.
The firefighter and policemen on 9/11 going into that tower that was on fire to try to get people out.
Was Sully when he landed that plane in the Hudson a hero? Sort of, he didn't have much choice though did he.
Right after 9/11 people were calling Rudy Guliani a hero for I don't know what. Really?
Was John McCain a hero for getting shot down and surviving a prison camp for five years?
He didn't have much choice if he wanted to live did he.
What I'm saying is a person can be courageous, brave and a great individual but not necessarily a hero.
Being a true hero is usually the result of one certain act or action an individual may do.
No doubt Mr. Glenn was a brave, courageous daredevil of man . I just question the hero part. I guess one could spin it either way. Just saying.

Hope I didn't offend anyone!

of semantics.
Here is a very brief description of John Glenn's record during Word War II: "From June 1944, stationed in the Marshall Islands, he flew 59 combat missions until his return, bombing and strafing Japanese positions in the area.[11][12] He was hit by antiaircraft fire five times, and was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and ten Air Medals."
In Korea: "He flew 63 combat missions in Korea with VMF-311,[6]:186 gaining the nickname 'magnet ass' from his alleged ability to attract enemy flak, an occupational hazard of low-level close air support missions.[6]:180 On two occasions, he returned to his base with over 250 holes in his aircraft." And because of Glenn's service in Korea: "...he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice more, and the Air Medal a further eight times.[16][17]"
This may not meet your definition of "hero." It does mine.

BTW -- The event which makes John McCain a hero in my eyes is described here: "In mid-1968, John S. McCain Jr. [John McCain's father...John McCain's legal name is John Sidney McCain III.] was named commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater, and the North Vietnamese offered McCain early release[44] because they wanted to appear merciful for propaganda purposes,[45] and also to show other POWs that elite prisoners were willing to be treated preferentially.[44] McCain turned down the offer; he would only accept repatriation if every man taken in before him was released as well. Such early release was prohibited by the POW's interpretation of the military Code of Conduct: To prevent the enemy from using prisoners for propaganda, officers were to agree to be released in the order in which they were captured.[34]" This was AFTER McCain had been shot down and captured with two broken arms and a broken leg, AND he had his shoulder crushed with a rifle butt and was bayoneted, after he was fished from water where he nearly drowned. McCain was further tortured and given wholly inadequate medical treatment. He lost 50 pounds at this time, and those who shared incarceration with him did not expect him to live. Nevertheless, when given the opportunity to leave this horrifying captivity, McCain refused to leave. To me, THAT'S a hero!

Those two gentlemen went through a lot no doubt. To each their own.

Hope I didn't offend anyone!

Anyone who wins the Congressional Medal of Honor is a hero.

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