The Life & Faith of Astronaut John Glenn
Few people have as extensive of a resume and accomplishments as Astronaut John Glenn who passed away Thursday at the age of 95. Most notable was Glenn’s accomplishment as the first American in history to orbit the Earth and additionally the oldest person to fly in space at the age of 77. Additionally Glenn served as a U.S. Marine, pilot, engineer and U.S. Senator from Ohio.
NASA called him a true American hero at the announcement of his death, tweeting, "We are saddened by the loss of Sen. John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. A true American hero. Godspeed, John Glenn.”
What is most important though was his underlying faith of the man who accomplished so much because as it turns out what a driver of all he was able to do. FOr starters he is quoted as saying during his first voyage to space,
To look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is to me impossible.” (Quoted in 1998 at the age of 77 while on his second flight on space shuttle Discovery.)
Glenn also said how important his faith is to his work and touched on the truth of stewardship, something Jesus spoke of in the Parable of the Talents where each of us will give an account to God for how we handled our gifts and finances. Glenn is quoted as saying, “I’m a Presbyterian, a Protestant Presbyterian, and I take my religion seriously as a matter of fact. I was brought up believing that you are placed on Earth here more or less with a 50-50 proposition, and that is what I still believe. We are placed here with certain talents and capabilities. It is up to each of us to use those talents and capabilities as best you can. If you do that, I think there is a power greater than any of us that will place the opportunities in our way.”
Glenn will also be remembered for his love of country, encouraging citizens to not drop out or cop out or tune out but to work for good while not ignoring the bad. He encouraged all citizens to be engaged in American government.
“Don’t tune out, cop out or drop out. Don’t give in to complacency and cynicism. Don’t ignore what is bad, but concentrate on building what is good. Don’t take America and the values reflected in our form of government for granted. And never forget that in our democracy, the government is not ‘them’ — it is ‘us.’”
Glenn died at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he was hospitalized for over a week.
President Obama who awarded Glenn the Presidential Medal of Freedom (pictured) released a statement on his life and legacy saying, "With John's passing, our nation has lost an icon and Michelle and I have lost a friend. John spent his life breaking barriers, from defending our freedom as a decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, to setting a transcontinental speed record, to becoming, at age 77, the oldest human to touch the stars.
President-elect Donald Trump tweeted,
Today we lost a great pioneer of air and space in John Glenn. He was a hero and inspired generations of future explorers. He will be missed.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2016