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I’ve been fascinated with science and space since my formative years in grade school. I remember the moon landing the summer of 1969, sitting in front of our black & white TV set in my feety pajamas staring through the static as those astronauts walked on the moon. And in second grade, I wrote about it. . .

The Eagle has Landed

I was born the year the first American orbited the Earth in 1962. Last week that man, John Glenn, a hero of mine, passed away.

My Heroes

In middle school, my history teacher encouraged us to write to our Congressmen. Back in the ’70’s it was common for these men to send campaign materials like buttons and bumper stickers to anyone who had written to them. I had a shoe box filled with this stuff. I wrote to my space hero John Glenn, who was then a Senator from Ohio. He sent me a signed glossy photo of himself. The photo was of him not in his space suit but in his Senate suit.

John Glenn was a fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, an astronaut, and served in the U.S. Senate for 24 years AND a man who did not to revel in fame and fortune. Rather, he was courageous and principled. His bid for president fell short back in the 80’s not because he wasn’t qualified but he didn’t like campaigning and “asking for money”.

Last week I heard a story on NPR in which a biographer noted a quote only John Glenn could come up with during his Earth orbit, “As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind – every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.”Last month we took a day to check out the new Heroes and Legends exhibit out at the Kennedy Space Center just a 60 mile drive from Winter Garden. It is here that the selfless men and women astronauts of the past and present are inducted into its Hall of Fame.

The first American in space, Alan Shepard, is here. The three astronauts of Apollo 11, The Eagle has Landed, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, are here. And, as he should be, John Glenn, the first American to sit in the “hot seat” and orbit the Earth, he is here. A humble man, an American, a true Hero and Legend, and in my book, the end of a chapter.

Godspeed John Glenn.

Incidentally, I just read Mission to Mars by Buzz Aldrin. Beyond the science and space jargon and acronyms there were two takeaways in this journey of a book for me:

One, Buzz Aldrin’s dream was inspired by his mother whose maiden name was Marion Moon.

Two, this quote from Buzz after he and Neil Armstrong spent two and a half hours during the first moon walk when Buzz was the first to climb the ladder back into the Eagle. “While Neil was the first human to step onto the moon, I’m the first alien from another world to enter a spacecraft that was going to Earth.”

Buzz Aldrin

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About Woody

We are a couple who took the first step toward a life of traveling in May, 2015. Staying within the continental US, we amp'd the adventure-factor by traveling in a VW Vanagon, circa 1985. Our mission is to share irresistible and compelling stories conceived from this lifestyle of travel.

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