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COLUMBUS, Ohio  — About 2,500 people  gathered in an Ohio State University auditorium to celebrate the life of John Glenn.

The space pioneer’s casket was carried through the streets of Columbus in procession from the Ohio Statehouse.

Vice President Joe Biden was among the dignitaries attending the memorial service.

Biden says space pioneer John Glenn “defined what it meant to be an American.”

Biden told the memorial service crowd that fellow Democratic lawmaker Glenn knew that ordinary Americans could do extraordinary things.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Dailey says the nation had Glenn for 95 years and “it still wasn’t enough.”

Ethel Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were among mourners present, along with Ohio political leaders.

Bagpipes played as the flag-draped coffin was brought into Mershon Auditorium. A procession of Glenn’s hearse went from the Ohio Statehouse to the memorial service called “a celebration of life” for the former fighter pilot, astronaut and longtime U.S. senator from small-town Ohio.

The former astronaut, fighter pilot and senator died Dec. 8 at age 95.


Thousands paid their respects Friday in a public viewing of his flag-draped casket inside Ohio’s Statehouse rotunda. They included Secretary of State John Kerry. Glenn was also a fighter pilot and longtime Democratic U.S. senator.

Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, and in 1998 became the oldest person in space at age 77. Burial is planned at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., in a private ceremony in the spring.

**Complete John Glenn coverage, right here**