Adrienne Dern was the first vice-president I hired at the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. PHA was much smaller when she joined us but had grown to the point that Pathlight, our newsletter, needed to move to a staff-edited publication. The patient volunteers who had edited it since it was launched in 1991 had done a remarkable job in creating a quarterly that made a difference in people’s lives. They gave news how others were living with this rare and incurable disease….and, from that, they gave hope. Adrienne knew that transitioning the publication in-house had peril. Pathlight was the soul of the organization and if patients were no longer editing it, their lives needed to be reflected. It could not be abstract. During her six years at PHA, Adrienne accomplished that task through the editors she hired and the thoughtful way she trained and supervised them.
Today, I’m pleased to post a brief but pointed guest blog from Adrienne. I have also included a recording of the speech from which Adrienne quotes as a reminder to us all of how the President of a great nation, the United States of America, used to speak and inspire and move us toward each other, rather than apart.
I read and thought there’s so much to expand upon here:
a president who didn’t react to the pre-election report because his White House “didn’t want to escalate tensions with Moscow…” and be “accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign.”
a Senate Majority Leader who voiced doubts about the veracity of the CIA intelligence…and whose wife has now been announce as President-elect’Trump’s choice for Transportation Secretary.
a 74 question memo from the Trump transition team to the Energy Department to get details on individuals, political appointees, civil service employees and contractors who worked on an international climate agreement or were involved in efforts to cut U.S. carbon emissions.
Then I said, nah.
Either the conversation will move to alt-news efforts to discredit fact-based reporting on these studies…or, like Watergate, so many years ago, these and other stories will fester for a time and then explode. In and case, there will be plenty of time to address them.
More important today is to remember an American hero, John Glenn.
Astronaut Alan Shepard had the first U.S. manned sub-orbital flight into space on May 5, 1961 (the Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, flew a month earlier).
On May 21, 1961, President John F. Kennedy spoke to a joint session of the U.S. Congress about a manned flight to the moon by the end of the decade. He followed that with a speech to the American people at Rice University on September 12, 1962, setting that effort as a national goal.
On February 20, 1962, John Glenn took a huge step in that direction for us all with the first U.S. manned orbital flight.
Glenn understood that what he achieved was the product of a national effort. He was the person in the capsule but teams of NASA workers and contractors, national leaders with a vision and U.S. taxpayers made it possible.
His death on December 8, 2016 came 75 years and 1 day after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was because of that attack that he joined the Air Force, flying 149 missions in World War II and the Korean War.
The space capsule in which he orbited the earth was named Friendship 7, a name hard to imagine us using in today’s environment.
From 1974 to 1999, he served in the U.S. Senate. During that time, in 1988, he joined the Discovery crew to become the oldest person ever to travel in space.
Alan Shepard and John Glenn’s flights took place when I was in elementary school and I remember how they and JFK’s We Choose to go to the Moon speech focused the nation and brought us together. Scientific study became a national priority. He brought out the best in us and we will miss him.
My friend Andy Field, posted a wonderful story about an interview he did with Senator Glenn many years ago. I think it tells a lot about the man and am copying it for you.
THE DAY THE NEWS STOOD STILL
Was lucky to cover and interview John Glenn as a Capital Hill reporter over the years….. great guy and an even better sport. We did a tongue in cheek piece about the goofy Weekly World News tabloid saying he and other Senators were actually aliens. I called his office to see if he would “comment” he played along and even spoke in an alien tongue on camera ..admitting the tabloid had finally exposed his secret..and the Mercury launch was his attempt to return to his home planet. He kept a straight face…i was holding back tears of laughter. What a thrill to have met and spoken with one of my childhood heroes!
Thank you John Glenn for a great ride and your life’s lessons. Go with humor. Go with grace. Rest in peace.