Home / National News / Obama Says John Glenn 'Lifted the Hopes of a Nation'


(NEW YORK) — The death of legendary astronaut John Glenn sparked an outpouring of tributes, including from President Obama, who said the space pioneer “lifted the hopes of a nation.”

“With John’s passing, our nation has lost an icon and Michelle and I have lost a friend,” Obama said. “John spent his life breaking barriers, from defending our freedom as a decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, to setting a transcontinental speed record, to becoming, at age 77, the oldest human to touch the stars.”

Obama called Glenn, who died at 95, the “last of America’s first astronauts.”

“John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond — not just to visit, but to stay,”

The president said the nation has “lost an icon” and that he and Michelle Obama have “lost a friend.”

Tributes to Glenn, who was the first American to orbit the earth and also served as Ohio senator, began pouring into social media immediately after news of his death broke Thursday.

The U.S. Marine Corps called Glenn a U.S. hero and one “Marine Corps Aviation’s legendary trailblazers.”

“Colonel John Glenn Jr. led a monumental life from his time serving as a fighter pilot in WWII and the Korean War to becoming the first American to orbit the Earth and fifth person in space,” the Marine Corps said in a statement.

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Several public figures took to social media to pay tribute to the space pioneer.

Astronaut Community



We are saddened by the loss of Sen. John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth. A true American hero. Godspeed, John Glenn. Ad astra. pic.twitter.com/89idi9r1NB

— NASA (@NASA) December 8, 2016


Retired Astronaut Scott Kelly


Saddened by the loss of my former astronaut colleague John Glenn. Was very honored to have known him. #Godspeed, John Glenn. pic.twitter.com/IRKGJNqYJQ

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) December 8, 2016


The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum


We mourn the passing and celebrate the life of Senator John Glenn. His legacy of friendship and discovery will live in our halls forever. pic.twitter.com/1zMNriqEcz

— SmithsonianAirSpace (@airandspace) December 8, 2016


Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson


Aren’t many Heroes left: WWII & Korean War Fighter Pilot. Marine Colonel. NASA Astronaut. Senator. Married 73 yrs. John Glenn RIP 1921-2016

— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) December 8, 2016


Public Figures

President-elect Donald Trump


Today we lost a great pioneer of air and space in John Glenn. He was a hero and inspired generations of future explorers. He will be missed.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2016


Vice President-elect Mike Pence


Saddened to hear of the passing of a US hero/astronaut/statesman. His courage inspired a generation to explore & serve. Godspeed John Glenn

— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) December 8, 2016


House Speaker Paul Ryan

“John Glenn was an American hero. As a military pilot, astronaut, and U.S. senator, he never lost his passion for exploration and public service. On behalf of the House, I extend my deepest sympathies to Annie and the entire Glenn family. May his memory live on every time we look up at the stars.”

Educator Bill Nye


Space exploration brings out our best. John Glenn served his country in space, in Congress, and inspired a generation. Onward, John Glenn. pic.twitter.com/KLtzuXn9eP

— Bill Nye (@BillNye) December 8, 2016


House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)


John Glenn’s humility and grace made his life achievements even more moving. Our hearts go out to his entire family. pic.twitter.com/GjzAogv6Gy

— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) December 8, 2016


Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio)


Last year, I had the honor of joining John & Annie Glenn for the official ribbon cutting of the new John Glenn College of Public Affairs. pic.twitter.com/WzkFxiCOsl

— Rob Portman (@senrobportman) December 8, 2016


U.S. Marines


The Corps lost a legend today.

Col. John Glenn— an astronaut, a senator, a Marine— died at the age of 95.

Semper Fi, Sir. pic.twitter.com/xUShqC9JaZ

— U.S. Marines (@USMC) December 8, 2016


Ohio Gov. John Kasich



— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) December 8, 2016


Ohio State


Today, we join the world in mourning the passing of legendary astronaut, senator and Ohioan John Glenn. https://t.co/L66WmMJgHi pic.twitter.com/ny3NPpm0nk

— Ohio State (@OhioState) December 8, 2016


Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio


Saddened by the passing of John Glenn. My thoughts are w/ his wife Annie & family. He was a hero. His life & legacy will never be forgotten https://t.co/KKCPRUmx5s

— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) December 8, 2016


Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin


With sadness, we bid farewell to John Glenn, a true American hero…May he rest in peace…

— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) December 8, 2016


Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio)


Sadden by the loss of Ohio’s American hero, politician & aviation icon. Thank you for your service to our state, nation & planet. #johnglenn

— Rep. Jim Renacci (@RepJimRenacci) December 8, 2016


Dan Rather


John Glenn, one of the truly great explorers passed into the great unknown. May his spirit, whose restlessness expanded our horizons, RIP.

— Dan Rather (@DanRather) December 8, 2016


Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.)


For every Baby Boomer, John Glenn captured our imagination and was a hero of our youth. https://t.co/PUwaH9M3R2

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 8, 2016


Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio)


We lost a true American hero today. My heart goes out to Former Ohio Senator John Glenn’s family, friends and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/xW3i9iKbG3

— Joyce Beatty (@RepBeatty) December 8, 2016


Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio)


Astronaut. Engineer. Statesman. Pioneer. Frmr Sen. John Glenn Jr committed his life to innovation, discovery, collaboration, & diplomacy.

— Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (@RepMarciaFudge) December 8, 2016


Columbus Blue Jackets


“I’m not interested in my legacy. I made up a word: ‘live-acy.’ I’m more interested in living.”

Godspeed, John Glenn. And thank you. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/Ehu09JDQNn

— ColumbusBlueJackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) December 8, 2016


Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio)


“I’m not interested in my legacy. I made up a word: ‘live-acy.’ I’m more interested in living.”

Godspeed, John Glenn. And thank you. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/Ehu09JDQNn

— ColumbusBlueJackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) December 8, 2016


Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)


“I’m not interested in my legacy. I made up a word: ‘live-acy.’ I’m more interested in living.”

Godspeed, John Glenn. And thank you. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/Ehu09JDQNn

— ColumbusBlueJackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) December 8, 2016


Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.)


Sad to hear of the passing of ex-Ohio Sen. John Glenn, who trained @NASA_Langley in #HRVA prior to 1962 Earth orbit. True hero. pic.twitter.com/UaNnTS4pjH

— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) December 8, 2016

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)

“John Glenn is the last of the original seven American astronauts who truly had the ‘right stuff.’ On top of paving the way for the rest of us, he was also a first-class gentleman and an unabashed patriot. He leaves his wife Annie, who always stood by him as he ventured into the unknown cosmos.”

Buzz Aldrin, former NASA astronaut and Apollo 11 pilot

“With the news today I’m saddened again to hear that we have lost the pioneer of space flight for the United States, second only to Yuri Gagarin, and he will always go down in history as certainly one of the most influential officers in the Marine Corps and of course as one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts. I am very sorry that he has departed us with his wisdom. I join that crowd of people and the entire nation and the world in paying homage to his service.”

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter

“In service to his country as a Marine, in space, and in the Senate, and throughout his life, Senator John Glenn embodied ‘the right stuff.’ Our military in particular benefited from his dedication and courage, first as a combat pilot in World War II and Korea, and later as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. But just as important as what John Glenn accomplished is how he accomplished it: with a combination of fierce determination and profound humility, and always with integrity. I am deeply saddened by his loss, and I join all Americans inspired by his heroic example in expressing my condolences to his wife, Annie, and the Glenn family.”

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