John Glenn 'stole America's heart,' Joe Biden says at funeral

Family members and famous faces remembered the space pioneer and senator Saturday during a public memorial service at Ohio State.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

He slipped the surly bonds of Earth more than once, but astronaut and senator John Glenn never forgot the land he came from, Vice President Joe Biden said at Glenn's funeral on Saturday.

"John came out of the heart of the country, like you kids do, and he stole America's heart," Biden said. "He knew by his upbringing that ordinary Americans can do extraordinary things."

Glenn's children, David and Lyn, also spoke about their dad. Lyn told the audience that when Glenn proposed to his wife, Annie, he told her," 'I can't promise you much, but I can promise you life won't be boring.' Life with you, Dad, was never boring."

The service was held at Ohio State University in Columbus. Glenn founded OSU's John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy, which has since become the John Glenn School of Public Affairs. The Chamber Singers of Glenn's alma mater, Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, sang at the event.

On Friday, Glenn's body lay in repose in a flag-draped casket in the rotunda at the Ohio statehouse, where famous and regular folks alike came to pay their respects. NASA shared a video of the public farewell, which featured a Marine honor guard watching over the body of the Marine Corps veteran, who flew 59 combat missions in World War II and 63 during the Korean War.

Forty Marines escorted Glenn's body to the OSU auditorium in a public processional before Saturday's service.

Glenn will be buried in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on April 6, the 74th anniversary of his marriage to his wife, according to Cincinnati.com.

Glenn, who died December 8 at age 95, was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts as well as a four-term senator from Ohio. In 1998, at age 77 and while still a sitting senator, he became the oldest person to fly in space when he flew on the Discovery space shuttle.

John Glenn and Friendship 7, we have 50 years (photos)

See all photos