John Glenn: 'I have had a job, Howard!' Gold Star Mothers speech - 1974

4 May 1974, Cleveland City Club, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

This exchange occurred in the Demicratic Senate primary for state of Ohio. Howard Metzenbaum, who had strong business credentials, attempted to highlight astronaut and military man John Glenn's inexperience in this area.

Metzenbaum: "How can you run for Senate when you've never worked a payroll?"

Glenn: "I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I was through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 differentoccasions.

I was in the space program. It wasn't my checkbook, it was my life that was on the line. This was not a 9-to-5 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 any Gold Star mother, and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.

You go with me to the space program, and you go as I have gone to the widows and the orphans of Ed White and Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their dad didn't hold a job.

You go with me on Memorial Day coming up, and you stand on Arlington National Cemetery — where I have more friends than I like to remember — and you watch those waving flags, and you stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those people didn't have a job.

I 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 a job. And they required a dedication to purpose and a love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself.

And their self-sacrifice is what has made this country possible.