Dear reader (if any), do you really think I'd let this anniversary go by without comment or observation? I was exactly 2 weeks old as of February 20, 1962. That puts my conception on or about May 2, 1961. See here for events on May 5, 1961. I am a child of the Space Age/Race.
John Glenn's Mission Patch:
For the official NASA "take" on the mission, go here.
A nice take on the subject by Space.com:
(Sorry for the tiny embed...blame Space.com. Direct link here)
My take on it:
(Caution...this is where I assume most will fall asleep due to sheer boredom. Be glad I got the more exciting stuff out of the way first)
My favorite GI Joe "action figure" (yes, I played with "dolls" too) was the Mercury astronaut complete with the Mercury spacecraft. I remember taking that to 3rd grade for show and tell, along with the "nifty" vacuum formed record of the Friendship 7 flight audio.
For years, I spelled my middle name with 2 "n", thinking my parents named me after Mr. Glenn. I found out at the "tender" age of 12 this wasn't so after seeing my birth certificate and getting my first Social Security card while in 6th grade. I also developed myopia at the same time, thus disqualifying me from being a test pilot and hence an astronaut. I decided then if I couldn't fly them, I'd design them. Plan B (aerospace engineering, or "rocket scientist") didn't pan out either, BTW.
The most successful college paper I wrote was on Beowulf, on the thesis of the single combatant warrior. But actually, I got that idea from Tom Wolfe's, The Right Stuff. Mr. Wolfe's fantastic observation was that the Mercury astronauts were dueling it out on the Nation's behalf against the Soviets.
I also remember how cheesy and derivative it was when Sen. Glenn(D-OH) finagled a ride on STS-95 (10/29/98 to 11/7/98). I say derivative because Sen. Garn(R-UT) finagled a ride on STS-51d (4/12 to 4/19/85). Yet this did show me another way into space...just become rich - be elected to the U.S. Senate - and get on the right committee to start twisting arms.