WASHINGTON — Family and invited guests are gathering at Arlington National Cemetery to say their final goodbyes to astronaut and Sen. John Glenn.
Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, died Dec. 8 at age 95. He was mourned and celebrated at public events in his home state of Ohio at the time, but those close to the family say Thursday’s interment is closed to public and news media so his wife and children have the chance for a more personal memorial.
In Glenn’s honor, flags of federal entities and institutions will fly at half-staff, per President Donald Trump’s order.
A private chapel service begins at 9 a.m. At 9:40 a.m., a U.S. Marine Corps live-stream begins, which includes the procession to the graveside by caisson, a flyover, a graveside service and taps. The event also will air on NASA TV.
Glenn’s widow, Annie, is 97. The two met in childhood in New Concord, Ohio, and have two children.
Glenn’s pioneering Mercury 7 flight in 1962 made him an instant national hero. He became the oldest man in space when he returned aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1998 at age 77.
He had many accomplishments outside of his career as an astronaut. He flew 149 missions as a Marine fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, broke the transcontinental air speed record, served 24 years in the U.S. Senate and founded the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University.
Thousands of mourners visited his flag-draped casket as it lay in repose at the Ohio Statehouse for a longer period than assassinated President Abraham Lincoln and others in history.
After a funeral procession through the heart of Ohio’s capital city, a “celebration of life” for Glenn drew roughly 2,500 people, including then-Vice President Joe Biden, current and former governors and many other dignitaries.
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