Aviation pioneer-turned-politician John Glenn never served at the Ohio Statehouse, but the center of state government now has a special tribute to its native son who became one of the most famous men in the world.
A seven-foot-tall, 600 pound bronze statue of Glenn was installed at the Statehouse Wednesday. It is a tribute to Glenn to mark what would have been his 100th birthday on July 18, 1921. It also is part of a celebration coming next year of the 60th anniversary of Glenn’s first flight into space on February 20, 1962.
The statue depicts Glenn in his early NASA spacesuit, with his flight helmet in his left hand and his right hand raised above, pointing to the stars.
Glenn was born in Cambridge, Ohio and grew up in nearby New Concord. He married his childhood sweetheart, Annie Castor. Together they traveled the nation and the world as military and NASA assignments took them places few natives of New Concord would see.
John Glenn went into space a second time in 1998 aboard a Space Shuttle mission to study the effects of space flight on older people. His political career spanned most of the 1970′s, 80′s and 90′s. He was first elected to the US Senate in 1974. He died December 8, 2016. His wife Annie died May 19, 2020.
The Ohio Statehouse has many statues of historic, military and political figures, ranging from Christopher Columbus to former Governor and President William McKinley. Glenn’s statue, however, will be on display there only for one year. The state agency that operates the Capitol grounds and building has a rule that statues may be installed for permanent display only if the person has been dead for 25 years or longer.
There is a likeness of the Wright Brothers at the Statehouse, a massive painting that hangs in the Statehouse Rotunda.