John Glenn is the only Democrat I ever admired in my life. From Eighth grade onward, I wanted to be like him. His death, at least to me, is actually devastating. As I look back at his life I do think of the time he verbally crucified his Democratic primary opponent who said Glenn never held a job:
“Howard, I can’t believe you said I have never held a job. I served twenty-three years in the United States Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn’t my checkbook; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine-to-five job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.
I ask you to go with me, as I went the other day, to a veterans hospital and look those men, with their mangled bodies, in the eye and tell them they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to any gold-star mother and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job. …
… You go with me on Memorial Day coming up and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends than I’d like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those people didn’t have a job.
I’ll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men — some men — who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose and a love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself. And their self-sacrifice is what made this country possible. I have held a job, Howard.”
John Glenn was a man’s man. America and the world are lesser without him.