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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 18, 2011 / 16 Tamuz, 5771

Exemplar of an era

By David M. Shribman




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | COLUMBUS, Ohio -- He was a hero in two of America's wars, then a fabled test pilot, a four-term senator, a presidential candidate, finally a party elder. But in the mind's eye and in history, John Herschel Glenn Jr. is frozen in time.

His boyhood friends, his wartime comrades and his Senate colleagues have grown old, and some have died. His political causes are yesterday's, their urgency gone, the stuff of the past rather than the right stuff of today. But John Glenn remains what he was when he became a staple of black-and-white television and the color pictures of Life magazine, two media themselves both gone:

An American phenomenon -- forever young, forever clad in the silvery Project Mercury space suit he wore when he sat above a smoking Atlas booster, forever the commander of Friendship 7, forever the first American to orbit the Earth.

So Monday brings an important, sobering, even jarring landmark -- for him and to some extent for the country. On Monday Glenn, who for a generation represented an American future as shiny as his silver space suit, turns 90 years old.

He was born in a country that, in the years just after World War I, was self-conscious about its strength, nervous about its role, reluctant to confront either. He grew up in an innocent time (the 1920s) in an innocent place (New Concord, Ohio) and volunteered to confront evil (World War II) and aggression (Korea). He caught the excitement of the new technology, and then, as one of the Original Seven astronauts, spawned excitement among millions who turned their eyes skyward to the boundless expanses of space and to the boundless opportunities it seemed to offer.

Today Glenn isn't so much a shadow of himself -- so many men at 90 are -- as he is a mirror of himself. The face still as round as the sun, the smile still as broad as his Midwest accent, Glenn still walks briskly, still exudes an infectious optimism from behind gold aviator glasses. Last month he flew his Beechcraft Baron between Washington and Columbus. Next winter his wife, Annie, 91 and recovering from knee replacement surgery, plans to ski. The couple looks forward to driving across the country in the fall.

"I'd rather burn out," he says in his office in the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University here, "than rust out."

He's not likely to do either. Glenn always seemed the personification of old American virtues -- hardworking, daring, forward-looking, sensible, unpretentious -- even when he was young. For four hours and 56 minutes in 1962, a period of Cold War tension and Kennedy idealism, he circled the Earth, then returned to a world that made of him a hero (BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM) -- a hero with the incandescence matched by only two men, Charles Lindbergh and Joe DiMaggio.

But while Lindbergh's daring was infected with an incoherent if not repugnant ideology, and DiMaggio's grace was afflicted with a brooding if not tragic shyness,(END OPTIONAL TRIM) Glenn exuded the upbeat spirit of an era he helped define. From Iowa and New Hampshire to states across the country during his disappointing 1984 presidential campaign, he trumpeted a can-do utilitarianism and a sense that all things were possible. One reason he did not prevail that year is that he still believed, while the rest of the Democratic Party of the time did not.

Glenn read science fiction as a boy, then lived it as a man. He and his father flew in the front of an open-cockpit biplane harnessed by a mere leather strap. He later left Earth's orbit on Friendship 7 protected from what he feared was sure incineration by the straps of his retrorockets.

He built model airplanes, the old-fashioned kind made from balsa, not plastic, then lived to see the old Mercury spacecraft models by Revell selling as antiques or maybe keepsakes for $85.

He returned to space in 1998 for a nine-day mission on the shuttle Discovery. He was 77. That space mission was 45 times longer than his first one 36 years earlier, and about 1/45th as exciting for the nation. In a wheelchair at Cape Canaveral the morning of his launch was his Korean War wingman, a shrunken residue of a wild specimen whom Annie Glenn remembers as the most profane man she ever met. We remember him as greatest hitter who ever lived, Ted Williams.

But his closest associates came from the Original Seven. "We were bonded for a long time," Scott Carpenter, 86, the only other survivor from that group, said in a recent telephone interview. "I admire John enormously. This is a Mercury friendship."

For Glenn -- despite the later flight, despite the Senate career, the White House dreams, the five Distinguished Flying Crosses and the flight that broke a transcontinental record by 21 minutes -- will always be tethered to Project Mercury. It was, for him and for so many who watched from afar or in the pages of Life, the defining cultural touchstone of the era.

Glenn and his six colleagues were reared in a world without the word "astronauts," but everything about their selection, and then their training, signaled that the nation was embarking on an epic undertaking that melded teamwork and individuality. World War II was won by as many as 16 million Americans (and that's not counting the British, Soviet and other combatants). Space would be won by seven Americans, or so the fable said.

Now Glenn is but one Earth rotation shy of age 90, still transfixed by the future but knowing it is a future he will not shape.

"We're a nation that more than any other country has stressed research," he said the other day. "We're accustomed to the new and the unknown. It's the way we grew up."

So many of us grew up in a world molded not only by what Glenn did, but also by the way he thought. And by the words Carpenter uttered as his friend's rocket prepared to lift into the Florida sky:

Godspeed, John Glenn.

Comment by clicking here.

David Shribman, a Pulitzer Prize winner in journalism, is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Previously:



07/11/11 On summer
07/04/11 The soul of the party
06/27/11 What the Secretary said
06/20/11 Romney has big advantages over his rivals, but they will be coming after him
06/06/11 One question each
05/30/11 The 14-week challenge
05/23/11 Delay tactics
05/16/11 Republicans are waiting
05/09/11 Bin Laden is dead. What does it mean?
05/02/11 From nobodies to nominees
04/25/11 The founders left slavery for future generations to settle, and we still haven't fully come to terms with it
04/18/11 From audacious to cautious
04/11/11 Dreaming of space
12/12/10 The GOP takes control
12/06/10 DECEMBER 7
11/29/10 GOP presidential hopefuls already are lining up local supporters in what is now a red state
11/22/10 Burning down the House
11/15/10 Institutions of higher learning are finally beginning to teach important lifeskills
11/04/10 The war has just begun
11/01/10 Echoes of a speech 40 years ago this week still resonate today
10/25/10 50 years ago America chose between two men who were dramatically different --- and eerily similar





© 2011, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Distributed by Universal Uclick, as agent for UFS.

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