Astronaut John Glenn will be interred at Arlington Cemetary on Thursday, April 6, 2017. These will be his final funeral rites and will be attended by his family and specifically invited guests. There will be a private service held at Old Post Chapel at 9 a.m., located on the western edge of the cemetery. Afterward, this American hero will be laid in his final resting place.
The United States Marine Corps will be providing a live stream of the event for those unable to attend the graveside gathering. The service will begin at 9:20 a.m. EST and run until approximately 10:35 a.m. EST. The stream will start at 9:20 a.m. and conclude at 11:00 a.m.
The website to view the stream can be found here.
General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps, will be serving as the funeral officer and will speak briefly. After the flag is folded, he will be the one to present it to Senator Glenn’s wife, Annie Glenn.
John Glenn’s Military and Astronaut Career
John Glenn enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was never called up, so he enlisted as an aviation cadet in the U.S. Navy. While training at NAS Corpus Christi, he transferred to the Marine Corps. During his time flying as a combat pilot in World War II, he flew over 55 combat missions. He received two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the tenth highest medal awarded to military personnel. He also received 10 Air Medals.
Glenn also participated in the Korean War, flying 63 combat missions in the F9F Panther. He later transferred to an Air Force squadron and flew another 27 combat missions in the F-86 Sabre. For his valor and service, Glenn was awarded two more Distinguished Flying Crosses and eight more Air Medals. After the Korean War had ended, he became a test pilot, and later applied to and was accepted into the astronaut program at the newly-formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
John Glenn is perhaps best known for his service as an astronaut. He was the first American to orbit the Earth aboard the Mercury-Atlas 6 spacecraft, named Friendship 7. He was the third American to travel outside of the atmosphere and the fifth human being in space. After Glenn had splashed down southeast of Cape Canaveral, he noted that it was the best day of his life.
His iconic spaceflight made him a hero, but it also grounded him for the next 36 years. Because he became such an American icon, President John F. Kennedy grounded him, saying that he was too important to the United States. John worked at NASA until 1964, when he retired and announced his candidacy for the United States Senate for Ohio. His race was cut short when he hit his head in the bathtub, suffering a concussion. This forced him to withdraw only 33 days after announcing his bid.
On January 1, 1965, John Glenn retired from the Marine Corps as a full colonel, going on to work for Royal Crown Cola as an executive.
Glenn’s Political Career
Glenn ran again for the Democratic nomination for the Ohio Senate seat in 1970. He lost, but decided to run again in 1974; It was during this campaign that Glenn gave one of the most famous political speeches of his storied career. The Gold Star Mothers speech was in response to incumbent Howard Metzenbaum, who accused Glenn of never holding a job.
“Go to a veterans’ hospital and look those men with mangled bodies in the eyes and tell them they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to any Gold Star mother and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.”
Glenn’s response cemented his win in the primaries.
John Glenn continued as a United States Senator until he retired voluntarily in December of 1998.
He managed to return to space one last time in October on 1998 as a Payload Specialist on the Discovery.
John Glenn passed away on December 8, 2016, at the OSU Wexner Medical Center with his wife, children, and grandchildren in attendance. He is survived by his wife of nearly 73 years, Annie Glenn, his son, John David Glenn, his daughter, Carolyn Ann Glenn, and numerous grandchildren.
[Featured Image by John Minchillo/AP Images]