Remembering John Glenn

ASTRONAUT JOHN GLENN ROCKETED TO FAME MORE THAN 50 YEARS AGO, BECOMING THE FIRST AMERICAN TO ORBIT THE EARTH AND, “LIFTING THE HOPES OF THE NATION,” ACCORDING TO PRESIDENT OBAMA.

HE DIED LAST WEEK AT AGE 95. UP FIRST, WE TELL YOU ABOUT THIS OHIOAN WHOSE LEGEND IS OTHERWORLDLY.

[CLIP: GODSPEED JOHN GLENN]
Those words launched Ohio-born John Glenn into orbit -- and into legend -- at one of the most important moments in America’s fledgling space program.

Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth, circling the globe 3 times.

Over half a century later, he’d recall the feeling of conquering the great unknown: [CLIP: GOLD MEDAL CEREMONEY] 

John Glenn was born in Cambridge in eastern Ohio. He grew up to be a highly decorated Marine fighter pilot in World War II and Korea – and later a military test pilot, setting a transcontinental speed record in 1957.

That led him to the US’ newly formed space agency, NASA, which was struggling to compete with the successful Russian space program at the time.
Glenn was selected to join the ‘Mercury Seven,’ NASA’s first astronaut recruiting and training program. Glenn’s moment of glory came when he crammed into the tiny Friendship 7 capsule headed for space.

President John F. Kennedy remarked on Glenn as the choice for this assignment:
[CLIP: “Representing as it does a vast advancement that will profoundly influence the progress of all mankind, it requires physical and moral stamina and a willingness to meet the dangers and challenges of the future. John Glenn throughout his life has eloquently portrayed these qualities and is an inspiration to all Americans,” Kennedy said.] 

After several minutes of panic on earth because of concerns about his safety, Glenn returned an American Hero.

After his record setting spaceflight, Glenn resigned from NASA to begin a career in politics, serving four terms in the US Senate.

Glenn used his fame to talk about his passions. As a former astronaut, Glenn pushed for science, technology, engineering and math education – topics highlighted at an event in his honor at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland in 2011:

CLIP: [“All progress is based on curiosity. Somebody has to wonder about how can we do something differently? How can we discover something new?” ] (18:00)

And John Glenn stayed curious. In 1998, he returned to space on board the shuttle Discovery – setting another record at 77: the oldest person to fly in space.

Glenn was always humble about the many honors bestowed on him – which included the Congressional Gold Medal in 2011, and, in 2012, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

John Glenn lived out his remaining years in Ohio. He’s survived by his two children and his wife of 73 years, Annie. 

AFTER THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF HIS DEATH, TRIBUTES BEGAN POURING IN --

PRESIDENT OBAMA WROTE OF GLENN:

“THE LAST OF AMERICA'S FIRST ASTRONAUTS HAS LEFT US, BUT PROPELLED

BY THEIR EXAMPLE WE KNOW THAT OUR FUTURE HERE ON EARTH COMPELS

US TO KEEP REACHING FOR THE HEAVENS. ON BEHALF OF A GRATEFUL

NATION, GODSPEED, JOHN GLENN." 

Instructional Links

Website Article: John & Annie Glenn Museum, John Glenn http://johnglennhome.org/about/john-glenn/

Website Article: NASA, Profile of John Glenn https://www.nasa.gov/content/profile-of-john-glenn

Video: Youtube, NASA STI Program, Historical Footage of John Glenn Friendship 7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0LB_BN2T0E

Video: WOSU, John Glenn, a Life of Service http://wosu.org/television/wosu-archived-videos/john-glenn-a-life-of-ser...

Encyclopedia Article: World Book Kids, John Herschel Glenn, Jr. http://www.worldbookonline.com/kids/home#article/ar832289

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