Fifty years after he became the first American to orbit the earth, John Glenn still inspires generations of Americans.
Many recall his historic trip in space. Glenn circled the earth three times at a speed of 17,400 miles an hour. At the time, he was just the third American in space.
A huge personal accomplishment to be sure, but Glenn didn't stop there. He later returned to space aboard the shuttle Discovery at the age of 77, becoming the oldest person in space. He was a U.S. Senator representing his home state of Ohio for four terms and once ran for president. At 90, he also achieved a personal goal of continuing to fly airplanes and just recently decided he would no longer do so.
Fifty years ago, Glenn became an American hero and we would argue he remains a hero today. That's because Glenn showed leadership and bravery not just within the space program, but beyond. He was a decorated fighter pilot who flew in World War II and Korea. And his move to politics further demonstrated a love of country and a love for public service. The pace of his life hasn't slowed and through it all, he's eager for the challenges still to come.
Glenn has been honored in recent days, both at Cape Canaveral and here in Ohio at Ohio State University. Even with the ongoing attention, Glenn remains humble and takes it all in stride. His goal has always been to inspire others, whether it be in the realm of space travel or elsewhere. He knows we all have greatness within us, we just have to be brave enough to act. For decades, Glenn has lived by example, and we expect he will for years to come.