By Marc Kovac
Ohioans will mark the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s historic orbit around the planet with a special day in his honor.
Feb. 20 has been designated by state lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich as John Glenn Friendship 7 Day, honoring the occasion this year and in years to come.
Kasich signed the legislation into law just before Christmas but played host to a ceremonial bill signing Friday at the Statehouse, with Glenn and his wife, Annie, participating.
Friendship 7 was the name of the spacecraft that carried Glenn as he circled the earth three times on Feb. 20, 1962.
“The measure of courage that that mission represented is indelible in human history,” said Sen. Tom Sawyer, a Democrat from Akron who sponsored the legislation.
“It was appropriate that we recognize this achievement in perpetuity in the state of Ohio, that we do this every year,” he said.
Glenn, a distinguished Marine pilot and longtime U.S. senator, was the first American to orbit the Earth, and later he was the oldest to travel into space. He turned 90 last year.
Glenn said he hoped the day named in his honor would encourage young people to stay in school and use their talents to the fullest.
“If something like this commemorative day can bring attention to some of the possibilities of this country and particularly for our kids, then the whole thing is worth it,” he said.