And humankind has always wondered about the celestial realm, desiring to experience it's beauty up close and personal and the excitement of learning all that we can about it. While we can't make it to heaven until this life is done, we can learn much from the vastness of space and its resources and possibilities, using the gift of the human brain which God granted us.
This week our thoughts turn to John H. Glenn, one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, the first man to orbit the earth and a veteran explorer of the space frontier. From a military background as a combat fighter pilot in Korea, to his excitement and dangerous time as an active astronaut, and even in later life as a United States Senator, John Glenn loved America, he loved adventure and he never lost his adventurous nature when it came to manned flight in space. You didn't have to agree with his politics to appreciate his smile, dedication and commitment to what makes America great. And he and the other six Mercury astronauts did the impossible while making it seem almost routine.
To really appreciate what John Glenn and all of these men subjected themselves to, we must really look at the capsule they traveled in with a cramped cockpit and personal space about the size of an easy chair, strapped in preparing for intense G forces as they were catapulted up and through the earth's atmosphere. And that cramped, tiny capsule was attached at the top of a giant fuel tank, something like being strapped to a giant Roman candle.
After complete success of the program early on, most of us began to treat the launches as routine until Senior Pilot Gus Grissom, one of the original seven Mercury astronauts, died in a fiery launch test in Apollo 1, reminding us of just how dangerous their missions were.
John Glenn was a devoted family man and a good Christian and he was one of those who truly devoted his life to the Spirit of God and America, and we all should honor his memory. Living to the age of ninety-five, he made us proud through his accomplishments and furthered the cause of the peaceful use of space. May he rest in peace as well with no further fear or suffering in the welcoming arms of His Lord.
When you search the celestial skies at this time of year when the atmosphere is crystal clear, remember the sacrifice he made for the advancement of mankind. He truly personified the idea that with God at our side we can do anything.