KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Astronaut John Glenn was remembered on Friday at the Kennedy Space Center. Though the mood was somber, it was actually more of a celebration of an American hero.
Glenn, who died Thursday at age 95, was the first American to orbit the Earth, in 1962, and was the oldest man in space, at age 77 in 1998. A U.S. Marine and combat pilot, he also served as a Democratic U.S. senator, representing Ohio, for more than two decades.
A wreath was set upon a pedestal to honor the World War II and Korean War veteran. People took photographs and got a chance to get up close and personal with some Hall of Fame former U.S. astronauts.
"The thing that sticks out about John is, I got to give him the first tour of the brand new space shuttle. When I was an astronaut down in Houston, they asked me if Senator Glenn was coming down and would I like to give him a tour of the space shuttle?" said John McBride, a former astronaut and retired captain with the U.S. Navy. "That's my fondest memory of him. We had a lot of good times together in Washington."
"They made it all possible. I think we stand on their shoulders and continue to build on those who went before us," said Bob Cabana, director of the Kennedy Space Center. "They're all remembered well. I 'm really going to miss John."
Glenn will lie in state in Ohio's capitol building before a celebration of his life of military and government service and two history-making voyages into space.
The public viewing at the Ohio Statehouse and a memorial service at Ohio State University's Mershon Auditorium are planned for late next week. The dates and times were being worked out Friday, said Hank Wilson, of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Statehouse officials meet Monday to authorize the public viewing.
President Barack Obama on Friday ordered flags at federal buildings and on ships around the world flown at half-staff until sunset on the day of Glenn's internment. Glenn is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.