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.— John Glenn
The most whopping John Glenn quotes to discover and learn by heart
As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.
The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel.
I don't know what you could say about a day in which you have seen four beautiful sunsets.
There are times when you devote yourself to a higher cause than personal safety.
When others kid me about being bald, I simply tell them that the way I figure it, the good Lord only gave men so many hormones, and if others want to waste theirs on growing hair, that's up to them.
By its very definition, civic responsibility means taking a healthy role in the life of one's community. That means that classroom lessons should be complemented by work outside the classroom. Service-learning does just that, tying community service to academic learning.
Too many people, when they get old, think that they have to live by the calendar.
There is still no cure for the common birthday.
To get your name well enough known that you can run for a public office, some people do it by being great lawyers or philanthropists or business people or work their way up the political ladder. I happened to become known from a different route.
This is a day we have managed to avoid for a quarter of a century.
We've talked about it before and speculated about it, and it finally has occurred. We hoped we could push this day back forever.
The moment of twilight is simply beautiful.
I think a mentor gets a lot of satisfaction in a couple of ways.
They're doing something constructive, so they feel good about that. And when they see the results of this, with the young people they're working with, it's very, very rewarding.
America is in a newly competitive position around the world, and unless we keep our lead in education for all of our people and do the research along with that, other nations will start outdoing us and they will be leaders in the world.
That was a real fireball.
We're going to go to the moon. We're going to go on to Mars. We're going to set up a base on the moon. OK, but no money to pay for it, nothing in the budget for it. And so the decision made at that time was to cancel the whole shuttle program to save money, which I think was very, very short sighted.
I think no matter where we go in space to me the important thing is not only getting there and getting back, but it's also doing research, because that opens up as a possibility with that new distance of travel in space.
We had an airplane, a Beechcraft Baron, that we - I had since 1981.
And Annie [Glenn] and I both of had to have knee replacements unfortunately over the past year, and it made it more difficult to climb up on the airplane. We weren't using it that much so we did - it hurt a lot but I finally sold the airplane.
If we could do something that enhances the body's immune system here on Earth, it would be a tremendous step forward in the fight against disease and cancer and other things.
Americans just want us to... not be concerned if they can be constitutionally justified... Why, if we had to do that we could not pass most of the laws we enact around here.
Because now, you know, it's going to be a number of years yet before we have our own new boosters and new spacecraft to go to our own International Space Station and proceed with all the research that we spent $100 billion putting up there to give us that research capability for the future for people right here on Earth.
That whole day [ of the space flight] is very vividly impressed on my memory because it was such a new experience. We hadn't done that before. And then I've recalled it so often since then I think that it's a - it's remained very vivid over the past 50 years, seems to me like about a week or two instead of 50 years.
Exploration, of course, is going to new places, but I don't think we go to new places just solely to say: "Well, we've been there," and come back, interesting though it may be. To me, each time we go farther into space we should use that to do basic research - basic research that can't be done before you go there.
It was the time of the Cold War and so there were was a lot of pressure on the - to get going and the Russians were claiming that they were - Soviets were claiming they were ahead of us in technology. And so it was against that backdrop that the early space flights took off.
I think in America we have to get back to being the best educated general citizenry in the world and make sure we do not lose our lead in research, if we're to have a leadership position in the world.
We (the DOE) are poisoning our people in the name of national security.
Zero G and I feel fine.
Liftoff is very, very gentle, contrary to what most people think.
Because you remember, the weight of the booster - the amount of thrust on the engine is just barely enough to get the booster underway. And so it's a very gentle liftoff, contrary to what most people think when they see all the fire and smoke of launch.
I still have my [flight] license and I can still pass a flight physical.
This is a day we have managed to avoid for a quarter of a century.
Just because I'm 77 doesn't mean I don't have a dream.
A lot of people ask...why a man is willing to risk... Well, we've got to do it. We're going into an age of exploration that will be bigger than anything the world has ever seen... If a man faces up to the (unknown) and takes the dare of the future, he can have some control over his destiny.
I was sold on flying as soon as I had a taste for it.
I think we're a long ways from really putting colonies of people out there who would live their whole lives out there in space. I don't see that happening for quite some time.
I still love to fly and I'll never get over that.
I don't like the way the whole thing has developed.
And I just hope that we develop our own transportation system, both spacecraft and new boosters, as soon as possible. I hate to think that we may be out there seven to ten years out and dependent on the Russians for our journey into space.
I am a stranger. I come in peace. Take me to your leader and there will be a massive reward for you in eternity.
I think that it's good for us to be able to travel in space and do research in space, and I emphasize the research, because space travel to me is far more than just seeing how far we can go.
Most of our competitor nations around the world have a national education system and America is the only major nation in the world that operates off of local school boards. They receive very little direction from state boards of education or from the nation. So local school boards direct basically what happens and too often they're not willing to track or to do the supervision of the education system that will make it world competitive.
We have an infinite amount to learn both from nature and from each other.
We used to joke about canned men, putting people in a can and seeing how far you can send them and bring them back. That's not the purpose of this program... Space is a laboratory, and we go into it to work and learn the new.
I think sometime we will go to Mars and I think we'll explore it with humans sometime, but I think it's really wise to do all the robotic exploration ahead of time and learn as much as possible. Once we have learned as much as possible with the robots, then that's the time to send people, and let them then continue the research that the robots have started.
America needs the best education system in the world.
We have it in higher education. We do not have it in general education for all of our people - the K-12 education. Other nations are far, far outdoing the United States in that area. We still have the lead in research, but once again, other nations are pouring more into research also. We still have a lead, but to me it's just very, very important that we keep that lead in basic research.
I hate to think that we may be out there seven to ten years out and dependent on the Russians for our journey into space.
As far as actually setting up colonies of people who would live their whole lives in space, I think we're a long ways from doing that yet, and I think we have many, many decades before we could be able to even consider something like that.
In America, we have no means of getting to our own Space Station.
We have to pay the Russians to put our people up there to send them into space - rendezvous with the Station and bring them back at the end of their stay, and that to me is just wrong. We're supposed to be the world's greatest space-faring nation, and to cancel our own means of getting there I thought was a mistake, even though it would save some money.
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.
On K-12 education America has gone down, down, down compared to the other nations. It doesn't mean that we have gotten dumber. It just means that we have not advanced as fast in those areas as other nations have done, and we're way down right now.
America had an emphasis on the individual and so education became available for everyone.
There had been a number of failures but we weren't going out to ride a failure.
And we felt they'd corrected all the difficulties with the boosters before that time and the launch problems. And so we had a lot of confidence that there was going to be a successful mission. We weren't off on some suicide effort, certainly.