It took a while to look up the image you see up top: But here he is, John Glenn — in his contour couch, in Hangar S, conducting last minute flight checks before leaving for his Friendship Seven space capsule and an orbital flight of the earth.
But there is another reason why this image is important to us. It is because it offers a nice close up of the Heuer chronograph that accompanied Colonel John Glenn on his flight.
Colonel Glenn wasn’t the first to have gone up into space, in fact, he wasn’t even the first American to have been launched into outer space. Colonel Glenn was, however, the first US astronaut to have orbited successfully orbited the Earth. His success was of great significance to the American pride, because it was when all of NASA’s efforts in the race to space had made a definitive dent in playing catch up with that of the Soviet’s.
Within the Friendship Seven space capsule, Colonel Glenn completed three orbits around the earth before plunging to a safe landing in the Atlantic nearly five hours after blastoff.
But Colonel Glenn was, no doubt, of the “overachiever” sort because after having put his mark on the history of the pursuit of space in 1962, he went to become elected into the senate in 1974. And then again in 1984, he made his bid to become the democratic candidate for president — a bid, which was unfortunately unsuccessful.
And again, Colonel Glenn wasn’t done yet. Because in 1998, aboard the space shuttle Discovery, Colonel Glenn went back to his first field of triumph and made the record for the oldest person to have gone into space. He was aged 77 during the flight.
Today, we honor the life and achievements of this one, true, great American hero who passed away on the 8th of December at the age of 95 in Columbus, Ohio. It is important we recall the lives such heroes who helped mark America’s story with greatness, especially in this season when the nation stands all but united. After all, it was of Colonel John Herschel Glenn Jr. whom people said, had all “the right stuff”.