John Glenn, 95, who braved a trip around the Earth over half a century ago at a time when no other America had done so, died Thursday. His death comes just a day after he was hospitalized in Ohio last week.
Glenn’s legacy is one of helping to open up the impossible for a burgeoning and young space flight program in the 20th century. At the time, international relations were tense as two superpowers competed to establish dominance over the other in space and with deadly nuclear weapons on Earth.
On February 20, 1962, Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth on board the Friendship 7 spacecraft. He circled Earth three times during a nearly five hour mission. He was the fifth human in space and the third American to make it there.
Glenn, it turns out, had a sense of humor about the flight and had some great wisdom to impart on the world he has now permanently left behind. Here are some of his most memorable quotes, courtesy of AZ Quotes and BrainyQuote:
“Zero G and I feel fine.”
“As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind — every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.”
“To sit back and let fate play its hand out and never influence it is not the way man was meant to operate.”
“I don’t know what you could say about a day in which you have seen four beautiful sunsets.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years on this planet, it’s that the happiest and most fulfilled people I’ve known are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self-interest."
“I suppose the one quality in an astronaut more powerful than any other is curiosity. They have to get some place nobody’s ever been.”
“Just because I’m 77 doesn’t mean I don’t have a dream.”
“There are times when you devote yourself to a higher cause than personal safety.”
“Any administration foolish enough to call ketchup a vegetable cannot be expected to cut the mustard.”
“I’m not interested in my legacy. I made up a word: ‘live-acy.’ I’m more interested in living.”