John Glenn, other than being the senator from Ohio, was also the oldest man in space. He is, and will always be, one of us, an Ohioan’s favorite. His demise at the ripe age of 95, on December 8, 2016, is mourned by many. He breathed his last at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, in Columbus. He is survived by his wife Annie, his wife for 73 years. Anumita profiles him and pays tribute to the American hero, in the weekly column, in Different Truths.
Born to a plumber father and a teacher mother, John Herschel Glenn Jr. reached heights more than most human on earth. He was among the first American astronauts to orbit the earth, during the Cold War and the ongoing race of conquering the space with Russia. Other than being the senator from Ohio he was also the oldest man in space.
He is and will always be one of us, an Ohioan’s favorite. His demise at the ripe age of 95, on December 8, 2016, is mourned by many. He breathed his last at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, in Columbus. He is survived by his wife Annie, his wife for 73 years. His body will be in the Ohio State House for those who want to pay their last respects. Later, he will be buried in Arlington Cemetery, near Washington DC.
He was born on July 18, 1921, in Cambridge, Ohio. Glenn was raised in New Concord. Glenn met Annie when they both were toddlers. Their friendship bloomed in romance during their high school years and later married on April 6, 1943. He had aspirations to become a medical doctor. He and Annie both attended the Muskingum College. World War II changed his career direction to an aviator. He joined the Nave Reserves after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. During the war, he flew 149 combat missions and was well known to be able to land an aircraft in any conditions.
After the cold war, Glenn was one of the three astronauts to orbit the earth in the Friendship 7 space capsule. Without the presence of computers in the capsule and he had to take manual control. The re-entry into the atmosphere at that speed could easily be burnt the astronauts alive.
The historic landing of the capsule in the Atlantic Ocean placed Glenn firmly in the book of heroes. After two attempts, in 1974, he won as a senator and won by a huge majority both in the years 1980 and 1986. In his final years as a senator, he returned to his first passion of being an astronaut. He orbited the earth once again in the shuttle Discovery when he was 77. His fitness of mind and body was praiseworthy. During the last years of his life, he along with his wife devoted their time and energy for Public Service, Public policy and The School of Public Policy and Management, for the Ohio State University.
His life has inspired many books and achievers. His name is immortalised at Columbus, as the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.
Among the awards received during his lifetime are:
Naval Aviator Astronaut Insignia, Distinguished Flyer Cross with three stars and eighteen clusters, Air Medal with fifteen stars and eighteen clusters, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, Presidential Medal of Freedom, Congressional Space Medal of Honor, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Space Flight Medal, Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, China Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two stars, World War II Victory Medal, Navy Occupation Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one star, Korean Service Medal with two stars, United Nations Korea Medal, Korean War Service Meda, Congressional Gold Medal, The Woodrow Wilson Award, National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal in 1962, John J. Montgomery Award in 1963, and General Thomas D. White National Defense Award.
©Anumita Chatterjee Roy
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