“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”
– Mae C. Jemison – a physician and the first African-American woman to become a U.S. astronaut.
“Walt Kowalski once said to me that I knew nothing about life or death, because I was an over-educated, 27-year-old virgin who held the hand of superstitious old women and promised them eternity.
Walt definitely had no problem calling it like he saw it. But he was right. I knew really nothing about life or death, until I got to know Walt… and boy, did I learn.”
– Father Janovich (eulogizing Clint Eastwood’s character Walt Kowalski) in Gran Torino
In 1929 when John Glenn was 8 years old, he and his father went up for a flight in a plane to see what it was like. In his memoir, Glenn tells about one day when, “as we drove past a grass-field airport outside of town, he [Glenn’s father] spotted a plane there and we stopped.
“We got out of the car to look. A man had an old open-cockpit bi-plane – and he was taking people up. He was a Steve Canyon-type pilot, a helmet-and-goggles sort of guy right out of the comics. We were leaning against the car and watching him, and my dad said, ‘You want to go up, Bud?’
“I almost died… I probably was scared at the idea of going up, but there wasn’t any doubt about it – I wanted to do it…”
The father and son did go up in the plane together that day.
“…As we drove home, Dad asked me if I’d liked the flight. I told him that I had. He said he had, too. He said he’d wanted to see what flying was like ever since he’d been in France in World War I and had seen bi-planes dogfighting over the lines. I realized later that it wasn’t simply fun for him. Flying was progressive, just the kind of thing he would have wanted to experience so he could speak with authority about what it felt like and, just as likely, what it meant. His eagerness to experiment was one of the most important lessons of my youth.”
– Excerpts from John Glenn: A Memoir by John Glenn and Nick Taylor
John Glenn grew up to be a Marine fighter pilot in WWII and the Korean War, a naval test pilot, and both a Mercury 7 and Space Shuttle Discovery astronaut.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
– Mark Twain