Buckle Up, John Glenn

There's been a lot of harping about whether 77-year-old John Glenn ought to be going up in space this week. You've heard the jokes about how he'll be the first astronaut allowed to pre-board and so on.

Well, a lot of it is coming from some of the younger astronauts who frankly sound a little jealous when they say it's just a publicity stunt. My question is, so what?


It's costing no more to send Glenn up than one of the younger pups and for my money if he wants to go, he deserves it.

I remember his first flight, how he showed us the right stuff during the depths of the cold war.

America was pretty nervous then because the Russians were caught up with us in nuclear weapons and had just beaten us into space, but Glenn risked his life and we all got our confidence back.

I also remember how mystified he was that he never got to go up again -- only to later learn that President Kennedy had secretly grounded him. Some say that was because Glenn was becoming so popular that the Kennedy's were afraid he might run against one of them.

Buckle up and have a good trip, John Glenn -- a man who is about the pope's age, who has kept himself astronaut trim all these years inspires all of us to keep pounding the old treadmill.

Besides, when you're my age, it's just nice to have an older person to look up to.

Commentary by Bob Schieffer
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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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