Ray and I worked our asses off today installing all the windows on the Tardis. But when I got home, I was terribly saddened and affected by news of the death of John Glenn.
In the early 1980’s I was on the corporate staff of the Gannett Company, then as now, a very large publisher of local newspapers. Every year we would have a reception at the Capitol Hilton in Washington where all our publishers could mingle with D.C. politicians for the benefit of readers and voters “back home.”
I knew the guest list and arrived early, a man on a mission. I walked over to the publisher of our paper in Chillicothe, OH, a friend of mine, and said, “The whole reason I’m here is to meet John Glenn.” He chuckled, and took me over to Senator Glenn. We were introduced and I said, “You know, just for now, why don’t I be a 12-year-old boy, and you can be an astronaut.” He laughed, looked at our publisher, and said “Well, maybe what I’m doing now has SOME importance.” We chatted for some time, I can’t for the life of me remember about what, but I saw a line forming, and excused myself.
During my media career, I was able to meet Presidents and politicians and celebrities, but that one moment is burned into my memory like no other. We have people from all sides screaming at us, “Here’s what to do for America.” What we all need to do for America is just be a little more like John Glenn.
John Glenn’s obituary in the New York Times, by John Noble Wilford, is a brilliant piece of writing. I hope you will read it: