‘Godspeed, John Glenn’: Public hails hero of space, politics

U.S. Sen. John H. Glenn, Jr., gives the thumbs up from the cockpit of a training aircraft as he prepares for his return to space on the shuttle Discovery's STS-95 mission in 1998.(NASA)

Tributes poured in for former astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn, who died Thursday at age 95.

Photos: John Glenn | 1921-2016

Politicians, astronauts, educators and others called him a hero, with many mentioning the phrase that first sent him into orbit: “Godspeed, John Glenn.”

Here’s a look of some of the reactions:


“When John Glenn blasted off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas rocket in 1962, he lifted the hopes of a nation. And when his Friendship 7 spacecraft splashed down a few hours later, the first American to orbit the Earth reminded us that with courage and a spirit of discovery there’s no limit to the heights we can reach together. … 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. On behalf of a grateful nation, Godspeed, John Glenn.” — President Barack Obama


“Today we lost a great pioneer of air and space in John Glenn. He was a hero and inspired generations of future explorers. He will be missed.” — President-elect Donald Trump, on Twitter


“NASA Langley joins the nation in mourning the loss of John Glenn, the last of the original Mercury 7 astronauts,” said Dave Bowles, Director of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. “Glenn spent a lot of time here in the late 1950s and early 1960s as part of Project Mercury, and we salute his many contributions and sacrifices that helped change the way we fly and explore.” — NASA Langley


“By his inspirational leadership spearheading our space program, John helped push back the horizon of discovery.” — Former President George H.W. Bush, on Twitter


“Glenn’s extraordinary courage, intellect, patriotism and humanity were the hallmarks of a life of greatness. His missions have helped make possible everything our space program has since achieved and the human missions to an asteroid and Mars that we are striving toward now.” — NASA Administrator Charles Bolden


While we have lost an American hero, we know Sen. Glenn’s legacy and pioneering spirit will live on through the work we carry out each day as we continue to advance human space exploration for the benefit of humanity.” — NASA Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa


“The Corps lost a legend today. Col. John Glenn — an astronaut, a senator, a Marine — died at the age of 95. Semper Fi, Sir.” — U.S. Marine Corps, on Twitter


“On top of paving the way for the rest of us, he was also a first-class gentleman and an unabashed patriot.” — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who also flew in space


“John Glenn said his childhood was like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, but his life was anything but typical.” — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.


“You look at John Glenn and his is really a life of service and we don’t see enough of that. He is an honest-to-God hero in all kinds of ways.” — Roger Launius, National Air and Space Museum associate director


“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


“The Ohio State University community deeply mourns the loss of John Glenn, Ohio’s consummate public servant and a true American hero.” — Ohio State President Michael Drake


“What made John Glenn a great senator was the same quality that made him a great astronaut and an iconic American hero: He saw enormous untapped potential in the nation he loved and he had faith that America could overcome any challenge.” — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio


“John Glenn was an American hero. He flew 149 combat missions in two wars. He was the first American to orbit the Earth, and the longest-serving United States Senator in Ohio history.” — U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio


“John Glenn’s enduring commitment to public service, devoted patriotism, and tremendous courage embody the very best of the American spirit.” — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.


“No one in this country epitomized the nobility and patriotism of public service more than Ohio’s John Glenn.” — Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper


“All of us in the commercial space industry seek to honor John Glenn by advancing further along the path he blazed for humanity in space.” — Eric Stallmer, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation


“John Glenn understood that aviation isn’t about flying, it’s about freedom.” — Elaine Roberts, head of John Glenn Columbus International Airport

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