Heroism

John Glenn to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Democratic senator and former astronaut on the passing on an American hero

 

John Glenn, the former astronaut and U.S. senator who became the first American to orbit the earth, will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, Fox News has learned.

FORMER ASTRONAUT AND US SENATOR JOHN GLENN DIES AT 95

All other funeral activities will take place in Ohio. It appeared there was an initial plan for the late senator to lie in state or honor in the Capitol Rotunda. Fox News is told the plan is for Glenn to be buried at Arlington.

John Herschel Glenn Jr., who died Thursday in Columbus at the age of 95, had two major career paths that often intersected: flying and politics, and he soared in both of them.

FROM FIGHTER PILOT TO CANYON OF HEROES: 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JOHN GLENN

Before he gained fame orbiting the world, he was a fighter pilot in two wars, and as a test pilot, he set a transcontinental speed record.  He later served 24 years in the Senate from Ohio. A rare setback was a failed 1984 run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

His long political career enabled him to return to space in the shuttle Discovery in 1998, a cosmic victory lap that he relished and turned into a teachable moment about growing old. He holds the record for the oldest person in space.

More than anything, Glenn was the ultimate and uniquely American space hero: a combat veteran with an easy smile, a strong marriage of 70 years and nerves of steel. Schools, a space center and the Columbus, Ohio, airport were named after him. So were children.

In 1957, the Soviet Union leaped ahead in space exploration by putting the Sputnik 1 satellite in orbit, and then launched the first man in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, in a 108-minute orbital flight on April 12, 1961. After two suborbital flights by Alan Shepard Jr. and Gus Grissom, it was up to Glenn to be the first American to orbit the Earth.

"Godspeed, John Glenn," fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter radioed just before Glenn thundered off a Cape Canaveral launch pad, now a National Historic Landmark, to a place America had never been. At the time of that Feb. 20, 1962, flight, Glenn was 40 years old.

During the four-hour, 55-minute flight, Glenn uttered a phrase that he would repeat frequently throughout life: "Zero G, and I feel fine."

"It still seems so vivid to me," Glenn said in a 2012 interview with The Associated Press on the 50th anniversary of the flight. "I still can sort of pseudo feel some of those same sensations I had back in those days during launch and all."

Glenn returned to space in a long-awaited second flight in 1998 aboard the Discovery. He got to move around aboard the shuttle for far longer -- nine days, compared with just under five hours in 1962 -- as well as sleep and experiment with bubbles in weightlessness.

Glenn was married to his childhood sweetheart, Anna Margaret Castor, who he wed in 1943. They had two children, Carolyn and John David.

The couple spent their later years between Washington and Columbus, where they were well-known and well-loved by their hometown's residents. Both served as trustees at their alma mater, Muskingum College.

Glenn also spent time promoting the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at Ohio State University, which also houses an archive of his private papers and photographs.

The residents of John Glenn's hometown in eastern Ohio said he never forgot where he came from and always made time to talk with anyone who wanted to visit.

Flags around New Concord have been lowered and the university where he was a trustee held a moment of silence before a basketball game Thursday.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.