In appreciation of John Glenn: Faith, family, service
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On the morning of February 20, 1962, the nation held its breath as astronaut John Glenn blasted off into space, becoming the first American to orbit Earth. 

Just before countdown, astronaut Scott Carpenter, at Mission Control in Cape Canaveral, would state the now immortal words, "Godspeed, John Glenn."

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The nation once again held its its breath for John Glenn yesterday as we learned of his failing health.

Now the nation mourns the loss of a true American hero.

John Glenn lived a life that few of us can imagined, revered more than artists, actors, authors, generals, and even presidents.

Glenn answered the call to serve his nation in World War Two and the Korean War.

Glenn was selected as one of our nation's first astronauts and in 1962, became the first American to orbit the earth, lifting the spirits of the nation during the height of the Cold War,  when many said that the United States could not compete with the Soviet Union.

He served the state of Ohio in the United States Senate for over two decades, championing nuclear nonproliferation legislation as one of his major efforts.

Glenn sought the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 1984 as a centrist candidate and received the support of millions of Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Then, improbably, fourteen years later at the age of 77, Senator Glenn returned to space as an astronaut on the space shuttle Discovery. As the oldest person ever to travel into space, Glenn was the subject of several medical experiments.

What mattered most to John Glenn, however, were not his many and historic accomplishments. Rather, it was his deep religious faith, his love of country, his love of wife Annie Glenn, and his children. He never forgot about his humble roots in eastern Ohio, especially in Cambridge and New Concord.

What John Glenn has taught me and millions of Americans is that faith, family, and love of country is paramount, that character and integrity matter.

John Glenn will be remembered as we remember Marco Polo, Columbus, and Francis Drake; as among the first courageous men whose daring exploits  made the first few "small steps for mankind that made all the  "giant leaps" possible. 

I cannot mourn Senator Glenn's death at 95, I only can celebrate his life.

Godspeed, John Glenn, as you race again, and forever, in the pantheon of history.

Adam Sackowitz is a graduate student studying history at St. John’s University in New York. He has worked for several years to highlight and to preserve the many accomplishments of John Glenn, including heading efforts to preserve landmarks related to John Glenn in Cambridge, Ohio.


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