- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
- ‘Duck Dynasty’ Phil Robertson suspended ‘indefinitely’ for gay quip
- John Podesta eats crow: ‘I apologize to Speaker Boehner’
John Glenn reunites with 50-year-old Mercury team
Question of the Day
The first American to orbit the Earth thanked the approximately 125 retired Mercury workers, now in their 70s and 80s, who gathered with their spouses at Kennedy Space Center to swap stories, pose for pictures and take a bow.
“There are a lot more bald heads and gray heads in that group than others, but those are the people who did lay the foundation,” the 90-year-old Glenn said at an evening ceremony attended by NASA officials, politicians, astronauts and hundreds of others.
“We may be up on the point of that thing and get a lot of the attention, and we had ticker-tape parades and all that sort of thing. But the people who made it work … you’re the ones who deserve the accolade. So give yourselves a great big ovation,” Glenn said, leading the crowd in applause.
Glenn and fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter, 86, spent nearly an hour before the ceremony being photographed with the retirees, posing for individual pictures in front of a black curtain with a model of a Mercury-Atlas rocket. Glenn and Carpenter are the lone survivors of NASA’s original Mercury 7 astronauts.
Some retirees were in wheelchairs, while others used walkers or canes. Most walked, some more surely than others. But they all beamed with pride as they took pictures of the abandoned pad and of each other, and went into the blockhouse to see the old Mercury photos on display and to reminisce.
As retired engineer Norm Beckel Jr. rode to the pad Saturday, he recalled being seated in the blockhouse right beside Carpenter as the astronaut called out to Glenn right before liftoff, “Godspeed John Glenn.”
But there’s more to the story.
The Mercury-Atlas rocket shook the domed bunker-like structure, although no one inside could hear the roar because of the thick walls.
“Nothing was said by anybody until they said, `He’s in orbit,’ and then the place erupted,” Beckel recalled.
Beckel and Jerry Roberts, 78, a retired engineer who also was in the blockhouse that historic morning, said almost all the workers back then were in their 20s and fresh out of college. The managers were in their 30s. “I don’t know if I’d trust a 20-year-old today,” Beckel said.
“They don’t know it, but we would have worked for nothing,” said Roberts, who spends the winter in Florida.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Border Patrol helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- In court filing, NCAA denies legal duty to protect athletes
- La. Gov. Jindal defends suspended Duck Dynasty star
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness from the carpool lane.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow