John Glenn celebrated the weekend with a three-day Ohio festival celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the historic astronaut and US Senator.
Glenn, who died in 2016, was the first American to enter orbit. land making him a national hero in 1962. Prior to that, he served as a military fighter pilot during World War II and the Korean War and set a transcontinental airspeed record. In 1998, he became the oldest person to ever be in space, at the age of 77. He spent 24 years as a Democrat in the US Senate.
The celebration of John Glenn’s centenary from Friday to Sunday was the result of a collaboration between Cambridge where Glenn was born on July 18, 1921, and near New Concord, where he grew up and met his late wife, Annie who died last year per 100 from complications from COVID-19.
Lyn Glenn, the late Senator’s daughter, watched the parade leave by Saturday from the front porch of her father’s house, a place where she, too, felt at home.
“We moved a lot as a family, and that’s why they always brought us here for the holidays, because this is the most permanent place in my life,” she told the Zanesville Times Recorder. “Coming back here is so familiar and yet so personal.”
The newspaper reports that one by one, fans approached Lynn Glenn during the day to share their memories, and among them was Glenn Shack, a New York-based reporter named after her father a few years after his orbit around the planet.
Edward and Jill Schack wrote to John Glenn, letting him know that they would name their son after him without waiting for an answer. Instead, they received a letter from NASA with photographs signed by Glenn in honor of their namesake in New Jersey, and a letter to the boy’s parents saying that their gesture honored him.
This correspondence continued throughout Shaq’s childhood. In 1969, when Shaq was 5 years old, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. John Glenn signed the photos sent to Shaq to commemorate this historic event.
“I would receive things from him by mail all the time without even asking,” Shaq said.
The weekend celebrations were also supposed to include a presentation by former shuttle astronaut and fellow Ohio fellow Don Thomas, rocket car rides, space films, and a biplane ride that young Glenn flew over Cambridge. Other celebrations of Glenn’s birth a century ago are planned in the area throughout the month.