COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 16: In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Annie Glenn, widow of former astronaut and Senator John Glenn, pays her respects to her late husband as he lies in repose, under a United States Marine honor guard, in the Rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse December 16, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. Glenn, who died at age 95, was the first American to orbit the Earth. He will be honored in a memorial service at Ohio State University's Mershon Auditorium. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)
Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA
Photo: Bill Ingalls/NASA

Astronaut John Glenn's wife of 73 years bids final farewell

Annie Glenn was married to her husband and American hero John Glenn for more than seven decades. She said goodbye for the final time Friday 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, more than a week after he was first hospitalized for an unknown illness.  

Annie Glenn 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.

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John Glenn grew up in a small Ohio town then served as a fighter pilot in World War II and Korea. He later was elected to the U.S. Senate for more than two decades.

He never gave up his interest in space.

Glenn 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 Gov. John Kasich said in a statement on the day Glenn died.

President Barack 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 Feb. 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.”

Besides his wife, Glenn is survived by his son John Glenn Jr., his daughter Carolyn and his grandchildren.

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