John Glenn to lie in state in Ohio

2016-12-11 05:57
A floral tribute is displayed next to a photograph of John Glenn at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida to honour the astronaut who died aged 95. (Craig Bailey, AP)

A floral tribute is displayed next to a photograph of John Glenn at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida to honour the astronaut who died aged 95. (Craig Bailey, AP)

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Columbus - John Glenn will lie in state in Ohio's capitol building before a celebration of his life of military and government service and two history-making voyages into space.

The public viewing at the Ohio Statehouse and a memorial service at Ohio State University's Mershon Auditorium are planned for late next week. The dates and times were being worked out, said Hank Wilson of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.

Courage and dedication

Glenn, who died Thursday aged 95, was the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and was the oldest man in space at age 77 in 1998. A US Marine and combat pilot, he also served as a Democratic US senator, representing Ohio, for more than two decades.

Democratic President Barack Obama on Friday ordered flags at federal buildings and on ships around the world flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of Glenn's internment. Glenn is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC.

Tributes from the nation's leaders and others continued to pour in.

"Throughout his life, Senator John Glenn embodied the right stuff," Defence Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement. "Our military in particular benefited from his courage and dedication. ... But just as important as what John Glenn accomplished is how he accomplished it: with a combination of fierce determination and profound humility, and always with integrity."

Glenn was a fighter pilot in World War II and Korea and served on the Senate Armed Services Committee, among other Washington service.

In his eastern Ohio hometown of New Concord, the John and Annie Glenn Museum, usually available this time of year only for special tours and events, opened with free admission.

Glenn was known for his humility, said Hal Burlingame, who grew up in New Concord and was friends with Glenn for half a century.

Private papers

"John Glenn that you see is the real John Glenn," Burlingame said. "He would be the same John Glenn if he happened to be sitting here today talking with us. He never took himself too seriously."

Glenn was born July 18 1921 in Cambridge and grew up in nearby New Concord. He wed his childhood sweetheart, Anna Margaret Castor, in 1943. The couple spent their later years between Washington and Columbus.

He and his wife served as trustees at their alma mater, Muskingum College, and he promoted his namesake School of Public Affairs at Ohio State, which houses his private papers and photographs.

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