Vote scheduled to bring John Glenn statue to Ohio Statehouse

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FILE – In this Feb. 20, 1962, file photo, provided by NASA, astronaut John Glenn pilots the “Friendship 7” Mercury spacecraft during his historic flight as the first American to orbit the Earth. Fans of the late astronaut are working to bring a statue of his likeness to the Ohio Statehouse to mark major future milestones, such as his birthday and the anniversary of his famous space flight. Thursday marks 58 years since Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth, making him an instant national hero in 1962. (NASA via AP, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A vote has been scheduled for Thursday on bringing a statue of the late astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn to the Ohio Statehouse to mark major future milestones, such as his birthday and the anniversary of his famous space flight.

Glenn, a native Ohioan, became the first American to orbit the Earth and an instant national hero in 1962. He returned to space in 1998, at age 77, as part of NASA research on aging.

State Rep. Adam Holmes, a Zanesville Republican, is seeking Capital Square Review and Advisory Board approval to temporarily place a sculpture of Glenn created by a constituent on Statehouse grounds — beginning with what would have been Glenn’s 100th birthday this July 18. Under his plan, the piece would return again on Feb. 20, 2022, for the 60th anniversary of Glenn’s orbital flight in Friendship 7.

The vote on the proposal was delayed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rules governing the Statehouse grounds do not allow for the permanent placement of a Glenn statue at this time. They say the person depicted must have been dead at least 25 years before that can happen. Glenn died in 2016 at age 95.

The $80,000, 7-foot (2-meter) bronze sculpture at the center of Holmes’ proposal was crafted by Alan Cottrill, who was born and raised in Zanesville, a short drive from New Concord, where Glenn and his late wife, Annie, met and grew up.

Annie Glenn died in June of COVID-19. She was 100.

A resolution urging Congress to award the Glenns a joint Congressional Gold Medal was reintroduced in the Ohio Legislature last week after lawmakers failed to act on it last session.

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