This reflection was originally posted on December 8, 2016, as the news of John Glenn’s death broke.
John Glenn was the only Democrat to win a statewide election in Ohio between the years of 1990 and 2006 (23 opportunities). His achievements in his long military career as well as his NASA career are impressive and the accolades that come to him, even in light of his occasional public failings, are well deserved, but they underscore the inability to count on transcendent figures to enter politics or for such an event to sustain a state party.
As an Ohioan, he will always be an inspiration for 1962 (his selection for Project Mercury was actually a deviation from the requirement that all astronauts possess a science degree, as Glenn had dropped out of college with a year remaining to enlist after Pearl Harbor…but he volunteered and was selected anyway). I hope to also remember him for the lessons we can take from the other 94 years of his life as well.