On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American to go into space. He was the first of the Mercury 7, and was a brave pioneer in the program. People still learn of him today, and the rest of the group also, but what people may not learn about is the bravery of these men’s wives.
The Mercury 7 were the first Americans to explore space, and their wives, were the first American women to stand by their sides. However, these women set a standard for women waiting for their men to arrive home safe. They did not shelter themselves from the world, but rather, create a strong bond between each other, so they would have a support group to lean on when times got hard.
This support group they created among all 7 families not only helped out when waiting for their men to return home, but it also helped each wife get through the tough media. With every lift off of one of their husbands came reporters standing in lawns waiting for the wives’ reactions, thoughts, and anything else they could tell the world. Imagine having this nerve-racking moment of your husband being blasted off into space and a bunch of strangers standing outside of your house waiting to hear your reaction. I believe in order to tell them your thoughts; a wife would have to have extreme courage, which is why I praise them for that.
On top of the support group never faltering to be brave and never faltering to have the courage to support their men in these missions, the group of wives were also beautiful. If my husband was being blasted off into space, the last thing I would even consider is the way I looked, but again, since these women were being continuously showcased by media, they always wanted to look their best. They followed whatever fashion fad and never gave the public a negative image of what being an astronaut’s wife may look like, even though they may have had worrisome thoughts inside.
These women were strong, they were independent, loving, caring, and everything else positive under the sun. They believed in their men, and kept a positive moral, even when they knew their men could not be included in family time as often as liked. They never gave up on their men and cherished every moment they had since there was no saying when the last would be. Yes, most of these women were stay at home moms, but all of them were spectacular. They provided a positive image for young women everywhere and never faltered to be a perfect role model. Yes, they may not have been the ones to fly into space, but they gained much bravery and strength from being married to men who did, and for this, they have my respect.
Finally, I would like to say thank you to these women. Thank you for showing me it is fine to support your husband in whatever he wants to pursue. Thank you for showing me that a wife should never leave her husband’s side. Thank you for showing me that one should never give up on a marriage no matter how hard it may be. Thank you for staying strong and staying pretty through it all. Relationships get hard, but thank you for handling all of your relationships with such grace and unfailing love. So thank you Rene, Trudy, Annie, Betty, Jo, Louise, and Marge for showing me your strength and faith in marriage and family; you truly are role models to all of us women.