Photo by Subrata De
Brian Williams and Senator John Glenn
Today I had the rare privilege of walking through the Smithsonian Air and Space facility near Dulles Airport...with John Glenn. I have known the Senator casually over the years—just through time spent with him in the course of interviews—and he is an extraordinary man. Only two of the original Mercury Seven astronauts remain (Glenn and Scott Carpenter, who was with me for our live coverage when Glenn's shuttle mission took off), and to stand there looking at the Mercury backup test capsule with a man who was sealed inside one...was extraordinary. The moment of the day: When members of the public—museum visitors—spontaneously started applauding as the first American to orbit the earth walked among them. Unbelievable.
My day got better from there: I just completed the first television interview with the man who will be America's next recipient of the Medal of Honor. Sgt. Leroy Petry was here with his wife. What an unbelievable man. Wait until you hear him, and hear his story. He proudly extended his new prosthetic hand (a beautiful unit with a carbon-fiber shaft and a pliable soft rubberized vinyl hand component), and we shook hands several times over the course of the afternoon. He lost his hand throwing an enemy grenade that had landed in the midst of his platoon in a courtyard in Afghanistan. He completed two Iraq deployments, six Afghanistan deployments. There are men alive today because of him. He will become, in July, the 85th living Medal of Honor recipient. They don't make them any finer than Sgt. Petry. Except, perhaps, for the 84 others.
We will originate the broadcast from Washington tonight -- I hope you can join us.