Americans of all ages are inspired by the space program and the astronauts that come through it.
From Alan Shepard to Neil Armstrong to Buzz Aldrin, these are names that connote inspiration and hope not only for people in the aeronautical field, but beyond.
One of those heroes is now among the stars.
John Glenn, the first American to have orbited the earth, passed away Thursday surrounded by family and friends at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, The Columbus Dispatch reported. He is survived by his wife Annie of 73 years.
The publication notes that Glenn, who later served four terms in the US Senate coupled “with fellow aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright and moon-walker Neil Armstrong, truly made Ohio first in flight.”
More from The Columbus Dispatch:
Glenn lived a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! life. As a Marine Corps pilot, he broke the transcontinental flight speed record before being the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 and, 36 years later at age 77 in 1998, becoming the oldest man in space as a member of the seven-astronaut crew of the shuttle Discovery.
He made that flight in his 24th and final year in the U.S. Senate, from whence he launched a short-lived bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984. Along the way, Glenn became moderately wealthy from an early investment in Holiday Inns near Disney World and a stint as president of Royal Crown International.
In one of his last public appearances, Glenn, with Annie by his side, sat in the Port Columbus airport terminal on June 28 as officials renamed it in his honor — the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.
“John Glenn is, and always will be, Ohio’s ultimate hometown hero, and his passing today is an occasion for all of us to grieve,” Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich said in a statement. “As we bow our heads and share our grief with his beloved wife, Annie, we must also turn to the skies, to salute his remarkable journeys and his long years of service to our state and nation. Though he soared deep into space and to the heights of Capitol Hill, his heart never strayed from his steadfast Ohio roots. Godspeed, John Glenn!”
Other tributes quickly poured in:
We are saddened by the loss of Sen. John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. A true American hero. Godspeed, John Glenn. Ad astra. pic.twitter.com/89idi9r1NB
— NASA (@NASA) December 8, 2016
The Corps lost a legend today.
Col. John Glenn— an astronaut, a senator, a Marine— died at the age of 95.
Semper Fi, Sir. pic.twitter.com/xUShqC9JaZ
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) December 8, 2016
A true American icon.
?? War hero
? 1st American to orbit Earth
? Last of the Mercury 7 astronauts
?? U.S. Senatorhttps://t.co/0cNfUtkZRz
— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) December 8, 2016
Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend John Glenn. John was an American hero and an #Ohio legend.
— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) December 8, 2016
It has been a blessing to know John Glenn and for Connie and me to count him and Annie as mentors and friends. We will miss him. – SB
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) December 8, 2016
RIP to John Glenn.
Now that is an American Hero. pic.twitter.com/TxJQnMyeMC
— Pamela Moore (@Pamela_Moore13) December 8, 2016