Monday, July 18, 2011



There are a few people in American life and politics who make all of us strive to be better individuals.  One shining example of that kind of American hero is Ohio’s own Senator John Glenn.

Today, Senator Glenn celebrates his 90th birthday, and we are all reminded of the many ways he has made our country and our state better.  Born in Cambridge, Ohio, on July 18, 1921, Senator Glenn enlisted and became a Marine pilot after graduating from Muskingum College.  He flew a total of 149 missions during the World War II and the Korean conflict, and in 1959, NASA selected him as one of the first seven astronauts in the U.S. space program.

On February 20, 1962, atop an Atlas rocket, he rode into space and piloted the Friendship 7 spacecraft around the globe three times, becoming the first American to orbit the earth and making his home state of Ohio mighty proud.  Glenn became a hero, defining for many what the American spirit of greatness could be.

John Glenn soon turned his interests to public affairs. Encouraged by Robert Kennedy to seek public office, Glenn ran for the United States Senate and was elected in 1974. Senator Glenn was the chief author of the 1978 Nonproliferation Act, served as chairman of the Senate Government Affairs Committee, and sat on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, as well as the Special Committee on Aging. Never far from the center of Democratic politics, he was a contender for the vice presidential nomination three times and ran in the Democratic primary as a presidential candidate in 1984.

Following his service in the U.S. Senate, NASA invited him to rejoin the space program he had helped to create, and on October 29, 1998, he became the oldest person in history to venture into space.  Since then, John and Annie Glenn founded the John Glenn Institute for Public Service at The Ohio State University. Through its programs, the Institute seeks to improve the quality of public service and encourage young people to pursue careers in government.

Please join us today in wishing Senator John Glenn, American hero, a very happy 90th birthday. 

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