Annie Glenn was married to her husband and American hero John Glenn for more than seven decades of her life. On Friday, she said goodbye for the final time as he was lying in state at Ohio’s capitol building.
Glenn, 95, died a week ago surrounded by family and friends at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, over a week after he was first hospitalized for an unknown illness.
Annie joined hundreds of mourners at a public viewing for the first American to orbit Earth at the state capitol in Columbus. Seated in a wheelchair, she put her outstretched hand on top of the flag-draped coffin.
Glenn is survived by Annie, his son John Glenn Jr., his daughter Carolyn, and his grandchildren.
Glenn, who grew up in a small Ohio town, served as a fighter pilot in World War II and Korea and served his state as a Democrat U.S. senator for more than two decades.
He became the oldest man in space at age 77 in 1998, when he boarded the space shuttle Discovery with six other astronauts.
“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 Governor John Kasich said in a statement on the day Glenn died.
President Obama said, “The last of America’s first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their example we know that our future here on Earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens.”
Glenn’s military career led him to become an astronaut and he took and passed the rigorous requirements to join NASA. He was 40 when his historic orbit happened on February 20, 1962.
“Roger, the clock is operating, we’re underway,” Glenn radioed to Earth as he started his 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds in space.
During the flight, Glenn uttered a phrase that he would repeat frequently throughout life: “Zero G, and I feel fine.”
He said in an interview, 50 years after that historic mission, “It still seems so vivid to me. I still can sort of pseudo feel some of those same sensations I had back in those days during launch and all.”
Godspeed, John Glenn.