Lawmakers reacted Thursday to the death of John Glenn, the all-American astronaut and senator who made history as both the first American to orbit the Earth and the oldest person in space. Glenn was 95.
"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.
"With John's passing, our nation has lost an icon and Michelle and I have lost a friend. John spent his life breaking barriers, from defending our freedom as a decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, to setting a transcontinental speed record, to becoming, at age 77, the oldest human to touch the stars.
"John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond--not just to visit, but to stay. Today, the people of Ohio remember a devoted public servant who represented his fellow Buckeyes in the U.S. Senate for a quarter century and who fought to keep America a leader in science and technology. Our thoughts are with his beloved wife Annie, their children John and Carolyn and the entire Glenn family.
"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."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman
Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend John Glenn. John was an American hero and an #Ohio legend.— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) December 8, 2016
John and Annie have been a model for Jane and me, and we send our condolences to Annie & the Glenn family at this difficult time.— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) December 8, 2016
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
“John Glenn’s enduring commitment to public service, devoted patriotism, and tremendous courage embody the very best of the American spirit. John’s passionate belief that everyone has an obligation to serve has inspired many people across America to contribute to their communities.
“His category-defying achievements – U.S. Senator, astronaut, decorated WWII veteran, U.S. Marine Corps pilot and educator – made his humility more moving, his grace even more inspirational. As a champion of STEM education for all, John supported investments in Appalachia and rural America as part of his lifelong effort to expand equality of opportunity for all. As an American hero, he took seriously the call to ensure that all people have access to the resources needed to fulfill their potential."
House Speaker Paul Ryan
"We are saddened by the news that one of Marine Corps Aviation's legendary trailblazers and an American hero has passed away. Colonel John Glenn Jr. led a monumental life from his time serving as a fighter pilot in WWII and the Korean War to becoming the first American to orbit the Earth and fifth person in space.
"He is an inspiration to us and our fellow Marines. Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Col. Glenn. He will be missed. Semper Fi."
President George H.W. Bush
"Throughout his life, when the country he served with such devotion summoned its patriots into the breach, John Glenn always seemed to lead the way. As a Marine fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, he helped America turn back a rising tide of tyranny. By his inspirational leadership spearheading our space program, John helped push back the horizon of discovery. And by his long and able service in the United States Senate, John Glenn helped bring hope and opportunity not only to his beloved Ohio — but to every corner of America as well.
"Few risked more for, or showed greater dedication to, our nation, and Barbara and join our countrymen in extending our most sincere condolences to his widow Annie and the extended Glenn family."