Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

Real American Hero

Heroes, History, John Glenn, Project Mercury, Space Exploration

Give it some thought and it's not all that difficult to compile a list a American heroes.  John Paul Jones, Theodore Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Wilbur and Orville Wright all come to mind.  For sure my hero list would include John Glenn. 

As a youngster the American space program captivated me.  I consumed anything and everything I could lay my hands upon about NASA, Project Mercury, the Gemini and Apollo programs. I was allowed to stay home and watch on television Alan Shepard's  launch and recovery. Today is the fiftieth anniversary of America's launch of a manned spacecraft to successfully orbit the earth.  It was piloted by a Marine Corps aviator hailing from a small town in Ohio.

I was a bit bummed about the Soviet Union kicking our space butt about that time and John Glenn's successful foray into space provided a welcome lift to American spirits.  If you were following the space program that is.  Glenn's Mercury capsule went on tour in the year that followed and when Friendship 7 arrived in Milwaukee dad took me to see it driven down Wisconsin Avenue on the back of a flat bed trailer.  No astronaut - just the space capsule.  On a recent visit to the National Air and Space Museum I visited with Friendship 7 again.  The hero's spaceship.

In the ensuring years Glenn went on to spend 24 years in the United States Senate and in 1998 was a crew member on a shuttle Discovery mission.  The first American to orbit the earth - at 77 years of age - became the oldest American in space. 

Fighter pilot, two-time astronaut and Senator.  John Glenn is 90 years old and still holds a valid pilots license. 

Real American hero. 

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