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John Glenn's Answer
Some people still don't understand why military personnel do what they do for a living. This exchange between Sen. John Glenn and Sen. Howard Metzenbaum is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive and impromptu speech, but it's also a good example of one man's explanation of why men and women in the Armed Services do what they do for a living. This is a typical, though sad, example of what some have never served, think of the military.
Sen. Metzenbaum to Sen. Glenn, "How can you run for Senate when you've never held a ? real job?' "
Sen. Glenn, "I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps, served through two wars. I flew 149 missions and my plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the Space Program. It wasn't my checkbook, Howard; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine to five job, where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank."
I ask you to go with me . . . as I went the other day . . . to a Veterans' Hospital and look those men—with their mangled bodies—in the eye and tell them they didn't hold a job.
You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go, as I have gone, to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee . . . and you look those kids in the eye and tell them their Dads didn't hold a job.
You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends buried than I'd like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation and you tell me that those people didn't have a job?
I'll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life, thanking God that there were some men—some men—who held real jobs. And they required a dedication to a purpose and a love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself. And their self-sacrifice is what made this country possible.
I have held a job, Howard—what about you?"
(For those of you who don't remember, during WWII, Howard Metzenbaum was an attorney representing the Communist party in the USA. Now he is a Senator.)
If you can read this, thank a teacher.
If you are reading it in English, thank a veteran.