John H. Glenn Jr. passed away today, December 8th, 2016, at the age of 95. He was an aviator, astronaut, Ohioan, Senator, United State Marine and an American hero and icon. His accomplishments, far too many to list here, are not only awe-inspiring but have also sparked the imaginations and dreams and future lives of countless young men and women who look to the skies with hope and wonder.
I recently returned from a visit with my son who is a post grad aerospace engineer student. During my visit, as with previous visits, we spent a day in Dayton, Ohio at the National Museum of the US Air Force. This is a massive 17 acre space which is laid out in four hangars. There are over 390 airplane, aerospace and missile exhibits from the earliest Wright Brothers models to retired Air Force One planes, to the hull of the first ICBMs. It is a fascinating and exciting place.
Among the aircraft exhibits, there are also hundreds of displays, memorials, statues and dedicatory plaques to pioneers of air and space exploration and innovation. From Orville and Wilbur Wright, to Amelia Earhart, to Chuck Yeager and of course, John Glenn, they are all there. These innovators, inventors and brave men and women, took up the mere idea of “what if?” and dared to try. They dared to push the envelope and expand our collective thinking. They pushed and pulled us all forward into flight. And they still do. Millions of young scientists, inventors, engineers, entrepreneurs still honor and revere these heroes and strive to answer new questions and find new solutions and continue to ask “what if?”
For all that John Glenn was, and is, he has earned our respect and honor as a great American and his contributions to our exceptionalism will live on forever. Thank you John Glenn. May you Rest In Peace among the heavens you loved.