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The Passing of a Hero

posted Dec 11, 2016, 8:11 PM by Thomas Stern
John Glenn died last week and I lost a hero.  I learned about John Glenn when I was in school as a child.  The "race to space" and the "cold war" were still hot topics when I was a child growing up in Cleveland, Ohio.  Ohioans were very proud John Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth.  He was also a war hero and a senator.  I was lucky enough to meet John Glenn when I worked in the senate.  I went to college in Washington DC.  Most of my school mates took advantage of that opportunity at some point during our four year stay to take a closer look at how our government operated.  I worked as an intern in the office of Senator Dale Bumpers in the summer of 1991.  I learned more than I wanted to know about our government during that experience and was able to meet some interesting people.  At the beginning of my internship I was being introduced to the senate document room where all interns were expected to go pick things up.  One of Senator Bumpers staff was showing me around.  We rounded the corner of one of the stacks and there stood John Glenn.  The staffer I was with knew Senator Glenn and introduced me. He shook my hand as I quickly blurted out "I am from Ohio".  I wanted to bond with him.  I wanted him to know I understood what a big deal he was. I can't remember what was said after that but he left me mesmerized.  I didn't appreciate it at the time since it was the beginning of my internship but most senators did not shake hands with interns.  I also never ran into another senator in the document room. John Glenn was humble.  John Glenn left the senate years later and returned to space at the age of 77. This week he started on the ultimate adventure and I can assure you that there are some boys from Ohio that miss him.