Remembering John Glenn
When I was a boy, few things stimulated my imagination as much as the “final frontier.” In October of 1998, I was eight years old and I still feel the sense of wonder for outer space that I felt then when I watched John Glenn traveling through space on a tv in Mrs. Evans’ 3rd grade classroom. Outer space is seemingly endless. So were the possibilities for my future as I watched one of America’s most famous astronauts do what he did best. A lot has happened during my lifetime since then. Technology and science have drastically changed and I am not the astronaut I thought I’d be then. However, I did follow Glenn’s footsteps in another way.
I didn’t know it at the time but as I watched his trip on tv, there was a ring(in the picture at the end of this post) on one of John Glenn’s fingers. It was his masonic ring. Many astronauts have been freemasons such as John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin. Becoming and living life as a freemason is a very different journey from being an astronaut but both are positively life-changing and both are worth it. Glenn submitted his application to become a freemason one year after his first trip to outer space more than half a century ago. It says something that the adventure of freemasonry was appealing to a man who had so recently done something as remarkable as travel through space. Then, all those years later, he was an old man above the atmosphere one more time and wearing the ring that signified his highly honored level of membership as a mason while I watched him on tv dreaming of some day being like him.
I’m no astronaut. But I am like John Glenn. That’s thanks to our shared experience as freemasons.
Today, the world watches John Glenn one more time as he takes off out of the atmosphere of life and into the great unknown space of death. Some day, we all will follow him there and how lucky we are to have been witness to the life of so great a pioneer from 1959 until now. To die well is to live well. In freemasonry, we teach that if you live a full life, you deny death its bitter threat of loss. My masonic brother, John Glenn, certainly did that. May we all be so lucky.