tv Vice President Joe Biden Delivers Remarks at Funeral for John Glenn CSPAN December 31, 2016 10:44am-11:55am EST
you who came from israel, we are so grateful to you from coming. you know that you are part of that belief. it comes from the passion we have for israel, we as a jews. and decent people in america that have faith in humanity and in america. we also believe in the absolute necessity to communicate the tale. we know we cannot. we never will explain. my good friends, it is not because i cannot explain that you will not understand. it is because you will not understand that i cannot explain. how can one understand that human beings could choose such inhumanity? how can one understand that, in spite of everything, there is goodness? in those times. in individuals. there were good people, even in
occupied countries. and there was kindness and tenderness and love inside the camps. amongst the victims. what have we learned? we have learned some lessons. minor lessons, perhaps. that we are all responsible. that in instances of sin and punishment, and we have learned that when people suffer, we cannot remain in different. and mr. president, i cannot not tell you something. i have been in the former yugoslavia last fall. i cannot sleep since from what i have seen. as a jew i'm saying that. we must do something to stop the bloodshed in that country. [applause] mr. wiesel: people fight each
other and children die. why? something, anything must be done. this is a lesson that among other lessons, that we shall learn together. and in closing to the president and distinguished guests, just one more remark. the women in the mountains of whom i spoke to you -- that woman disappeared. she was my mother. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] onthis holiday weekend c-span's book tv, tonight at 10:00 eastern on "afterwords," wall street journalist joann lublin looks at corporate america. and 11:00, cnn country is talk about thomas lake's book
"unprecedented: the election that changed everything." sunday afternoon a little after cook professor blanche talks -- of high schools football, in his book "playing through the whistle." for the complete schedule, go to c-span.org. former u.s. senator and astronaut john glenn died earlier this month at the age of 95. the funeral was held at ohio state university in columbus with remarks by vice president joe biden, ohio senator sharon brown, and others. this is about an hour and 15 minutes.
♪ >> when i came back from korea, i had to go through test pilot training and was accepted for that. and i thought to be able to work out some of the bugs on airplanes would be just about the ultimate in flying. >> marine airmen major john glenn begins an attempt at a supersonic transcontinental flight.
2460 miles traversed. elapsed time, three hours and 23 minutes, 8.4 seconds. >> we broke the record by quite a bit. by 20 minutes or so. ♪ gen. dailey: to annie, the true source of john's strength, for their many years together. to david and lynn, who shared their father to a grateful nation, i am honored to be called to celebrate the life of a man i am proud to have called both a hero and a friend. only a handful of people in history have been called upon to publicly embody the ideals of an entire nation. fewer still have stood to the task in both wartime and peace.
none answer the call more perfectly than john glenn. he became my hero early in my career as a marine, and still is today. he defined an age of american history in three storied institutions. but whether he was orbiting the earth or the senate floor, he was always a marine. on his way to attend annie's organ recital one day, john heard on the radio that pearl harbor had been attacked. anyone who knows annie understands what a sacrifice it was for john to put their marriage plans on hold, leave college, and join the fight. anyone who knew john understands that he did not see a choice. he saw his duty to serve. he tried to join the army air corps, but they couldn't take him fast enough. instead, he entered the military through the naval aviation cadet program, where he met his lifelong friend, tom miller. he chose the marine corps for the same reason many of us do.
because we have the best looking uniforms. [laughter] gen. dailey: after he earned his wings, he and his buddy tom, were first assigned to a transport squadron. this was not in their plan. here we see one of the first examples of what he called "selective opportunity." this is where you see an opportunity, and you position yourself to be competitive for the position. on this occasion, it backfired. he and his pal, tom, heard that the marine corps was going to get p-38 lightnings, a fighter being flown by the army air corps. while they were still in flight training, they reasoned that if they got trained as engine pilots, that would give them a leg up on being competitive for this twin-engine fire. the marine corps did not get the p-38. but they got multiengine squadron and not the fighters
they maneuvered so skillfully to get. but just across the field were two fighter squadrons, so he and pal tom walked over and asked for a transfer. that story sounds simple now, but john's version involved being chewed out by his colonel like something from a movie. this would not be the last time john paid the price for positioning himself for an assignment. on another occasion, john, only a lieutenant at this time, talked charles lindbergh into lending him his demonstration fighter, which lindbergh was touring to bases around the country. this audacity led to another pointed conversation with his squadron commander. even then, the country was having to hustle to keep up with john glenn. we admired the determination he brought to the work, but he was not in it for himself. service to the nation was personal for him.
he lost his wingman on his very first combat mission. he understood the risk. he knew firsthand the heavy task of gathering a friend's personal effects and writing the letter to the next of kin. john went on to fly 149 combat missions in two wars. he never shirked from danger. he drew enemy fire like a magnet, giving rise to one of his more infamous nicknames, which i cannot repeat here. [laughter] gen. dailey: he shot down three, and on 2 occasions, he landed with more than 250 bullet holes in his airplane, but the man himself was bulletproof. john's exemplary service in two wars earned him a slot as a test pilot. his most memorable mission was to fly supersonic across the country and set the world speed record. it was to test of durability of
engines and continuous afterburner. it is important to note that the limit on those engines was five minutes. he crossed the country in three hours, 23 minutes and proved that the engine was a lot better than we thought it was. but he called it project "build a bullet," because he was going to be flying faster than a .45 caliber pistol bullet. and it turned out during this flight, unbeknownst to him, conditions were perfect over a part of the country for sonic booms, which he drug from his indianapolis to his home town of new concord, rattling windows the whole way. it was not the last america was to hear from the world's fastest marine. the motto of his school in quantico is lead by example. and john set a fine example for us all.
his wingman in korea, the great baseball player ted williams, once called him "one of the calmest men i have ever met, no matter how perilous the situation." he might be referring to an occasion where williams was hit by antiaircraft fire, and his plane was ablaze. john pulled alongside, pointed up, they climbed to higher altitude, and with the lack of oxygen, williams made it back to base. of all the war stories, this one perhaps illustrates best what john meant to us. he invited us up to his level, where we discovered what an american could do. he once said he had been a marine for 23 years, and it just wasn't enough. we had john for 95 great years, and it still wasn't enough. a long, full life is a gift, and john made his a gift to us all. and today, we say thank you. for the service and sacrifice,
for the faith and the friendship, and for always leading us higher. even though the marines hymn was written over 200 years ago, they had john glenn in mind when they wrote the lines "first to fight for right and freedom and to keep our honor clean. we are proud to claim the title of united states marines." colonel john glenn has made his last takeoff, and he will be missed but never forgotten. ♪
the word "astronaut" was not even known when i was growing up. that word came later. mr. glenn: i loved it. i liked to go up every day. [laughter] mr. bolden: this week, our nation has been mourning the loss of one of its greatest heroes, john glenn. his passing has affected me deeply, but in a spirit of optimism that he has always radiated, i would also like us to remember his many
achievements and the pioneering spirit that he exemplified. i also want to thank annie, lyn, and david and the entire glenn family for sharing their husband, father, grandfather with the world. every one of us on planet earth has benefited from having him on our team. annie, you and john exemplified, for all of us, what it means to be united as a couple. your love and friendship over 73 years is unlike anything i have ever seen. i'm glad and incredibly blessed that i was able to witness your devotion. i hope that jackie and i can emulate your lifetime of love.
i was so moved when i called john and annie earlier this year to congratulate them on their 73rd anniversary. when john put annie on the phone, she said, and i quote, i was so moved when i called "charlie, you know, i think this is going to work." [laughter] mr. bolden: john glenn always said yes. yes to his country's call in the united states marine corps, yes to being the first american to orbit earth as one of mercury 7, yes to the state's nomination to serve in the senate, and yes to the ongoing call of his nation to help forge a path through a new millennium. it was courage, grace, and humility john displayed throughout his life that lifted him above the stars. as the current head of nasa, i can say unequivocally that we are standing on john glenn's shoulders as we pursue a human
journey to mars, a journey that would not be possible without his bravery and selfless dedication. i know that, and countless other astronauts, who had the privilege of following senator glenn into space, content point -- can pinpoint his remarkable accomplishment as the first american to orbit earth as the seed of our aspirations. even in his 70's, he continued to break barriers as he took to space again in the space shuttle. i was so proud to see this american legend soar again on the discovery 1995 mission. just as with his first flight, he planted a seed, that someday americans from all walks of life might experience space and the wonder of our planet from orbit and see it as a unified whole. kennedy space director bob cabana, another marine, recalled
at the time just how excited john was to once again be "one of the guys," and how happy and blessed he felt to continue his role in the space program he loved and valued so much. steve lindsey, who is with us today, flew with john glenn as the pilot of sts 95 on discovery. steve said, and i quote, "what i learned about john through that experience is that he was authentic. every bit the hero the world and our nation holds him to be. john was, at his core, a man of humility, integrity, and kindness, someone who put others ahead of himself, a team player, and someone you could always count on." john glenn always represented the best of our american ideals.
his personal popularity was enormous, perhaps because he was so approachable, so genuine. people felt as though he could sit down in their parlor for a chat and be right at home, or like steve lindsey said, that he would be a great neighbor. john glenn was deeply compassionate. he valued everyone, no matter his race or gender. he was ahead of his time in many ways. it was he who personally requested that katherine johnson, a black woman from west virginia, working as a human computer at the langley research center, he requested that katherine johnson do the verifying of the calculations on his historic flight as a backup to the ibm electric computer. john was just like that. john made us look up, not only to the sky, thinking we might
actually be able to see him up there, but toward a higher purpose, that we as a country are always striving to achieve. he represented innovation and bravery, and with that infectious grin, he made us all feel good about ourselves. john first flew to space aboard friendship 7, and he was truly a friend of humanity. a daring pilot who risked his life in world war ii and korea, and worked tirelessly to advance the field of aviation long before he took to space. he dared the most on behalf of us all. it is fitting that this they also marks the 113th anniversary of the wright brothers' first powered flight. just as john advanced the frontiers of aviation, so, too, we will follow his legacy to us,
to travel further into space. john glenn received many accolades, but his true measure is taken not in awards but in the respect he still commands on both ends of the political spectrum, by the large shadow he cast on our entire endeavor to travel farther into the solar system, and by the bright flame of his inspiration, which continues to eliminate our way. godspeed john glenn, and thank you. we will never forget you. ♪ [chatter] mr. glenn: i decided it was time to do other things. i thought about politics and
government work sometime, but i have no idea that i would be up to do that myself. i had been thinking about this since i was a kid. being able to contribute and orbital flight, and if i was to continue in that area, we would do the best for the country. that is when i decided to run for public office. interest in the senate was across the depth of this country. >> excuse me. >> when john glenn was 10 years old, his father, his hero, a veteran of world war i, taught him how to play caps on the
bugle. vice pres. biden: with flowers next to gravesites and gravestones of the fallen, john will recall that time and feeling when he said where love of country was a given, defense of its ideals is an obligation, and the opportunity to join in its conquest was a challenge, not only to fulfill a sacred duty, but to join a joyous adventure. with john, all the years i worked with him was always a joyous adventure. nie, what a joyous adventure you and john had together, on display for your children and the whole world to see. you all know it, you can tell
when a couple genuinely loves and enjoys one another. it was infectious. on behalf of president obama and behalf of the american people, jill and i are here because we love you annie, and we love john. and together you taught us how to love. that is not something you usually talk about when you talk about heroes, especially heroes like john glenn, who lived a life that was rigorous with just a little bit of magic. just a little bit of magic. we talk about a daring spirit, poise under pressure, mental and physical toughness, but for all his heroism the history will remember in war and space and public life, you felt something deeper with john. annie, on the way to air force 2 i got a call from john kerry. somewhere over the atlantic on the way to another mission in
the middle east. and he told me about his time that he got to spend with you a couple of days ago and the family. he said john is only the nice person in history to lie in state that was not a governor. and he said he talked about how much it meant to him and to be with you. and he gave spontaneously what i think is the best description of john glenn, and i knew john for over 40 years. he said, john came out of the heart of the country like you kids do, and he stole america's heart. he came out of the heart of the country and stole america's heart. and he did.
he stole america's heart. i remember as a kid, a freshman in college and john's historic flight. and you and john and jill and i have been friends for over 40 years. i know others have had longer relationships, but what a 40 years it has been. we served in the senate together side-by-side for 20 years and we traveled around the world together. john was one of the happiest people i ever knew. think about it. one of the happiest people i ever knew. he had that infectious smile. even when things looked like everything was crashing down, john would walk in my office or walk in a caucus with a big smile on his face and i would wonder, where the hell has he been? [laughter] vice pres. biden: how did he not hear what i just heard? you think i'm kidding.
i'm not kidding. the world knew and respected john from columbus to cambodia, to washington to beijing. he loved being a senator, he loved his constituents and his colleagues. he loved his staff come out many of them -- staff, many of them here today. and you could feel his love for his country and his state. but and in the marine corps. but most especially, he felt love for you and his grandchildren. all you had to do was see john and annie walk together, and you knew, that is what it was supposed to be like. i said to her today, she said that is like you and jill. and i said no, that is
different. everyone knows i love jill more than she loves me. [laughter] vice pres. biden: i think you love to him just as much. the last time we were together when jill and i had and he and -- you and john over to the vice president's residence, i was looking at the picture this morning. we were walking out to the gate. and the words of the poet christopher marlowe came to mind and i had to rewrite this on the way to the plane. christopher marlowe said, come with me and be my love and all the pleasures we shall prove. together, you and john proved --
excuse me, you and john proved all the pleasures. you not only had a magical love affair, the other thing about you, you were partners. together, you bore the weight of pain and responsibility with enormous humility. and a sense of duty that defined you as the greatest of america's greatest generation. i think john defined what it meant to be american, what we were about. just by how he acted. it was always about promise. we were a country about possibilities, opportunity, always a belief in tomorrow. tomorrow. when john was in the house a couple of years ago, that is all he kept talking about. what are we going to do now, joe? what are we going to do tomorrow? we have all these opportunities.
together you taught us that a good life is built not on a single historic act or multiple acts of heroism, but the thousands little things, the thousand little things that built character. treating everyone with dignity and respect. john was one of the few of my colleagues where we could go in the restroom where the shoeshine guy was, he would always pat him on the shoulder and give him a hug. understanding that despite fame, everybody was john's equal. everybody was john's equal in his mind. and it all comes down to being everybody was john's equal. personal. the president always kids me, because i am getting older now and i could even try to improve
on tip o'neill's -- about how all politics are local. i don't think john would agree with that. i think he thought all politics is personal. it is all personal. it all comes down to being personal, to being there for family, and being there in that being there for friends. in good times and bad times. like when you were there for me and jill when i was in the hospital. like when you were there for us when our son was deployed and you were there when we buried him. it was all about being personal. john, as was mentioned earlier, i happened to be with ethel kennedy at an awards ceremony in new york and the ripple hope ceremony, and i was ironically,
the fellow who runs my office who was an ohio guy said john wasn't doing well. you should call him. i had a brief discussion with ethel. the story is well known about him talking to the kids and being sent back to hickory hill. what struck me was i was told that when you went john got to -- when you and john went to hickory hill, john walked into senator kennedy's private study. and saw that robert kennedy had out a book of poetry. and it was opened up to a leaf in the book and there in the margins were comments made by robert kennedy.
and the passage until john -- that john remembered was, this time like all times is a very good one, if we know what to do with it. the thing i like most about john was he knew from his upbringing that ordinary americans could do extraordinary things. ordinary americans could do extraordinary things. and he believed, i believed, he was confident that every successive generation would know what to do with it. that is the charge i think john left us, annie. to join our nation's conquests and operations as a challenge to
not only fulfill a sacred duty, but to join in this joyous adventure. so when the marine plays taps on the bugle at arlington for our friend, we can look deep into the heavens and no with certitude that john believed, and was right, that future generations of americans will also look deep within the heavens and understand how to explore, how to serve, how to love. they will come to understand they're looking for a message to send about our time here on earth, about what it means to be an american. it is the life of john glenn, and that is not hyperbole. god bless you john, god bless
you, annie. and may god protect our troops. ♪ [music playing] >> going back to new concorde days and what i experienced there and some of what i am trying to pass on to others with our school here. mr. glenn: how do you make our young people have a feeling of pride and community and state and country to where they are willing to go and engage in political activity? those are the kinds of things i hope we can instill in people not only here in ohio but maybe
,is mind was as sharp as a tack but his body was feeling him and this had to be. i'm going to speak about my father from the perspective of being his son, but i have a huge amount of difficulty deciding what to say about him. in the end, i decided to go with the things i decided to tell you about today because they are really stuck in my head and my heart. i'm going to start by talking about his memories, and then i will share some of my memories of him. i can't really say for sure what made him the way he was, but he was born in a happy home with two parents that loved him deeply. and he grew up in a classic american town, where he could adventure and explore to his heart's content.
there was a terrific community spirit there. focused around church and school and town activities. and he told us lots of stories about his friend and my mother. in particular, he never forgot the effect of the great depression on new concorde. when he was a kid, late one night, he overheard his parents talking about how they were going to lose their home if the could not make any more of the payments on their mortgage. then one of fdr's new public works programs helped my father -- my grandfathers struggling plumbing business get off the ground. that saved their home. and my dad workeded in that business as a teenager cutting pipes. he was really proud of being a really good pipe cutter. there are more memories from
this early. as a little kid, he would load some rhubarb from his family's rhubarb patch and sell them to neighbors. he did the same with horseradish and he liked to eat them both. he had a paper route and he played trumpet in the town land. and my grandmother loved poetry and she had him learn poems that he would recite until the end of his life. all the stories he told now feel like gifts that he left us. and now some things i learned of my father.
he loved science and as a kid i remember him drawing me diagrams -- bear with me -- i remember him drawing me diagrams to explain how the shape of an airplane wing would create lift the allows the airplane to fly. and the space program of course was a huge passion. when i was a teenager, he spent a lot of time before the mercury flight going through the manuals with me and explaining the back of systems that would hopefully keep him alive if something went wrong. he also learned how to identify a lot of stars while he worked at nasa and he talked about the names with us as kids. and we would lay down blankets at night and pointed them out. i was in my middle 20's back in 1971 and it went to visit my parents. i had hair all around my
shoulders, different from now, bellbottoms and the whole bit. had not seen them in a while. i walked into the house and i remember, maybe he blinked twice or his face twitched or something of that sort. [laughter] david glenn: but that was it. and he was only five years from being a retired colonel in the marine corps. he might have made some wisecracks at the time, but it was clear he accepted me as i was. he really gave me freedom to find myself in life. to learn my lesson and to make my own mistakes. he loved being outdoors, especially in the colorado rockies. he loved taking his jeep of --
up really crummy back roads and bouncing around for hours. not all of us found it enjoyable. i remember getting carsick. once we were sitting at a lake in wyoming and along came trumpeter swans that were flying low on the lake. and they were so low that they made ripples on the water. this is a golden memory that i have growing up with him. he was a lifelong jogger. and when it became hard on his knees, he would walk. he didn't until the last few months. he loved to ski. the last time he skied he was
about 85. you can imagine that. he was with my wife and i and he made the best turns i have ever seen him make. i have never been able to figure that out. but he aggravated some arthritis in one of his knees and he had to give it up after that. one of our most beloved traditions over the last 40 years was to gather together in the mountains during christmas time, we would bundle up, get a permit from the forest service, and get in axe and to drive out into the national forest and find a christmas tree. after we had the tree, we built a fire with the careful instructions of creating little chimneys, i heard that a thousand times, for the flames to follow. before long we had a roaring fire.
sometimes it wasn't much above zero, but he loved those times huddled around a campfire. other things he loved, cooking around a barbecue pit. he liked it medium rare. and making hot buttered rum on special occasion, corn on the cob with butter, seeing -- singing, barbershop quartets, teaching my son's how to drive the riding lawnmower. reading everything. he loved round tables, which -- because he thought it brought everybody into the conversation. watching westerns with his grandkids.
and he had a special weakness for chipmunks and especially hummingbirds. he and my mom loved to travel. in the summer of 2013, they decided to go on a huge road trip. all we knew was they were heading west. a few days after starting this trip, they called up to say hello and said they were sitting in their car, which had been loaded onto a flat bed aaa truck. because they had a flat tire and their car was being transported off to the town 25 miles away. it turned out that they were somewhere in the texas panhandle and it was 105 degrees. this was the punchline of the story from them they were sitting in their car and they . it sitting in their car and they had the engine running so they
could have air-conditioning on the whole time. and not roast themselves. that was 2013. not very long ago. later in the trip, they called us again and they just finished a hike using hiking sticks. they called up again from a little town in colorado where they were sitting in a restaurant and there was a freak thunderstorm that had caused a flash flood and water was coming under the front door of the restaurant. no end of adventure, and i write right mom? they loved that trip. i could go on. what was most important, he cared not only about his family and friends, but about people in general.
he was enormously considerate. he loved and cared for other people. he treated everybody with the same respect and interest. nothing was more important to him than having been in a band of brothers. being in the marine corps with people who are more worried about their own brothers then losing their own lives. as jack daly told us earlier, and i heard this afternoon, over the years, he lost a whole group of friends, some in combat and some in accidents. and he never got over those losses.
i will finish with one very recent memory. my wife and i were visiting my parents. we had just finished eating dinner and we were sitting at the dinner table and there condo in columbus, the rounded dinner table. and we were all talking and somehow got on the subject of neil armstrong, the astronaut. and he was at neil armstrong's birthday party and he described neil sitting down at his 80th birthday party and playing a song. and then sitting at the table with us, my father began to quietly saying -- sing, and he saying that same song to us. and it seemed like he was singing it to everybody he cared about.
>> it was a long while for may to december the days grow short when you reach september when autumn weather turns leaves to flame, no one has a time for the waiting game the days dwindled down to a precious few september, november, and these few precious days i will spend with you. my precious days i will spend with you.
lyn glenn: like my brother said, we are so grateful to all of you are here. when dave and i were planning this time for our father, what we wanted was further to be friends. the people who really knew him. and i think, i hope, that you are able to hear that president drake, charlie, jack, that these people are our friends. and somebody has been mentioned a couple of times. i would be remiss if i didn't say that our lives were
intertwined with one family, the kennedy family. when ethel and robert wanted to come today, it had tremendous meaning for us. thank you, thank you ethel and bobby. those memories are beyond heart ache and enjoy. thank you so much for being here for dad and mother. i would also be remiss if i did not think -- dad died nine days ago, and during that period of time there had been a group of people to come together with unbelievable love, strength, support and energy to celebrate him. they knew him well and they absolutely made this day
possible, this time possible. when we were going to the funeral home to see dad's body, i knew i wanted to write something to put in the casket. i started writing my letter to him. and when i wrote it, i realized i was actually writing what i wanted to say to all of you. so this is a letter, a letter i started, see you will hear me refer to him as my father. many people have mentioned, of course, february 20, 1962. from that day to this, people have come up and said, john glenn is your father, he is a hero, what is it like to have a
hero for a father? and from the very first time i was asked that, i thought about it and i said, he is just my dad. you have been my teacher, my nemesis, yes. [laughter] i will just ask dad. you taught me to parallel park a car, tie a knot, tie a necktie, and slide a car on ice. he recommended i memorize my social security number and i learned that westerns are the highest form of entertainment.
and that the white hats always win. and you had two of them. and when you married mother, you told her, i can't promise you much, but i can promise that life won't be boring. it was always repeated in our family, what have you done for your country today? you were teaching me that our country is more important than any individual and we are stronger when we each do our part. although i admit, as an eight
year old, i wanted a bit more little girl and a little less god bless america. [laughter] in your heart dad, you remained a small town boy and though you met presidents, ceos, kings and queens, you had a common touch with people at a gas station. the son of a small-town plumber, you kept one of grandpas wrenches on your desk as a reminder of where you came from. you gifted a wrench to my brother and to me. naturally shy, you often wore a ball cap so you wouldn't be recognized, but your civility and small-town manners would come out when you entered a building. off came the baseball cap and people would recognize you and autograph would commence. you did it with grace and
willingness. only once did i see you refuse to sign an autograph. you were running for a vote on the senate floor and you asked the person to wait. they did and you signed the autograph on the way back to the office. another simple gesture you made was to pick up buckeyes as he walked across the capitol grounds on the way to your office. you put them in a bowl of the waiting room -- in your waiting room of your office of people could take a little piece of ohio with them. and you never allowed in your name or your picture to make money, because you said it wouldn't be right for a government employee to make money from government service. general mills offered you a million dollars, and we were told it could reach $5 million, to be on a wheaties box.
this was an unimaginable amount of money for our family living on a marine pilot pay. but you turned the offer down. you remained true to your small-town nature and your heart remained true to the values of the marine corps. this is to your very burial, dad. you chose a marine issued casket and you asked that marines carry you to your grave, and that you wear marine green to go to your grave, too. i love that after taps is played, you want "revelry" to be
played because you said you will be waking up in a new dimension and you said it with a grin. [laughter] earlier, i said you were a teacher. and you taught me more than just trying to tie a knot, or memorizing my social security number. during the life you shared with mother, you were tendered with and supportive of her, especially with her stuttering. when mother gave her very first speech, you did not go with her. you listened on a phone and cried. you knew she had to stand alone and not in your shadow. and you were an elder in the presbyterian church, but i think
i learned more about religious practice watching how you lived your life. you treated other people as you wanted to be treated. you are true to your word with a handshake. you gave to the salvation army and he lived with humility and gratitude. once, i asked for your insight and guidance when i thought i had a good idea for an investment. after we talked for a while, you thought, and you said, yes, but how much is enough? in today's world, your words almost seem quaint, but they should be a standard -- how much is enough? you are more self educated by your natural curiosity than any degree might have bestowed.
and google and safari gave room for your courteous nature to explore the universe. i learned from you that age is not just a number. that aging can be full and meaningful. the institute has now become the glenn college. i am so grateful that you lived to know your legacy will endure. you challenged another assumption about aging, you flew your own pressurized speech -- beach baron, until you were 90. you renewed your pilots license every year and endured a weekend of testing, provided by the beach aircraft. but degeneration caught up with
you and a compromised your ability to see the sunset. it was heartbreaking for you and a heart ache for me. now here we are, your funeral. folks from around the world and all walks of life remember and honor you, dad. you lived many lives in one life with honesty, grace, belief in our country, and the honor of public service. i am proud and so grateful to say you are just my dad. thank you, dad. i love you. godspeed, dad.
[applause] ♪ >> we have been together ever since we were in junior high school. our parents used to kid us that we were in play pens together. from then on, it was the two of us together. ♪ mr. glenn: there were things that i thought were important for the country and things she thought were important for the country too.
mansfield, ohio. colonel glenn was the speaker at a scout dinner. john glenn, national hero, shook hands with each one of us. john glenn, the most famous man of his generation, took pictures with us, one at a time. he always made time for you no matter your station in life. that lesson has stuck with me. 39 years later, former senator john glenn walked me down the aisle of the u.s. senate to be sworn in. and of course, like the eagle scouts of four decades earlier, every new senator wanted to meet his american hero. and he was kind to the senators too. [laughter] sherrod brown: i have been honored to see john glenn up close. every presidential year, ohio's
most prominent democrat would board a bus and go with the presidential nominee campaign around ohio. i watched him reconnect with senator kerry in 2004 and with senator biden in 2008. i saw him for the first time meet the young senator from illinois and the immediate connection that the american icon and the future president made. at one stop, this is a decade after his retirement from the senate, john glenn got off the bus, jumped over a ditch and shook the outstretched hand of an appreciative farmer. john was there a nonpresidential year -- the nonpresidential years for ohio democrats too. and he would go in a winnebago to campaign in small-town ohio.
as we traveled over the hills of his beloved southeast ohio, the rest of us began to get car six. but of course not the 85-year-old astronaut, who simply smiled at us. i saw the older statesman get off the bus and transfer some of his magic to us. he was an fdr democrat who cared about justice and cared about opportunity for people with less privilege than most of us in this room have. he never forgot, as dave talked about, he never forgot the terror he felt in his 11-year-old heart when he heard his parents talk about their home being foreclosed upon.
he later wrote about how government can change people's lives for the better. some say that his brand of patriotic optimism is a throwback to a bygone era, but we needed now more than ever. john believed in an activist government and an active citizenship. he warned that cynicism and apathy were a threat to democracy itself. john's friend robert kennedy, who helped convince him to run for the senate, said that politics was a calling almost like the ministry. he liked those words. the happiest and most fulfilled people i have known are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than their own self interests. that drove john to activism in public service and drove him to
create the glen college to inspire the next generation of engaged citizens. a friend that worked for john in his senate office told me this week, john took such joy in helping others and was so proud of his staff, that even when you left, you are still part of his family. john glenn was the only ohioan elected four times to the u.s. senate. he was a workhorse, never a show horse. he led nuclear proliferation and cleanup of nuclear disposal sites. grunt work to some, but he spent his time achieving lasting results that would leave the world better than he had found it. he helped create the independent watchdog we know as the inspectors general.
he had the foresight to found the great lakes task force, which continues to play such an important role to protect the health of our great lake. the night before the 50th anniversary of colonel glenn's space launch, we had dinner. as the evening wound down, we headed to the door together and the valet pulled up in front of the restaurant with john's cadillac. the 91-year-old astronaut jumped in the drivers seat and to the -- and the kids, all now on the other side of 60, piled into the back. some things never change. [laughter] and how they were in love. i spoke with them on their wedding anniversary and they said that they waited to get married until after he finished
his flight training. we wanted to get married in high school, but our parents wouldn't let us because they said it would never last. and how they loved david and lyn. john had a way of making everybody around him make them feel important. from the teenage eagle scouts to the farmers in the field. he lived his life like jesus in matthew 25, where jesus admonished his followers. ever you did it to my people will matter how important they seemed, you did it for me. john glenn, a great man. john glenn, such a good man. >> ok.
he is still handy that way, annie. four years ago, john and annie entered the hotel suite we had reserved for election night and was immediately swarmed with awestruck admirers. it is how it has been always. and in my essay for the plain dealer on john, i have been on the receiving end of stories about random encounters with john and annie. they all have a happy ending. on that night in 2012, our grandson clayton was with us. he had spent most of the day rehearsing a question he wanted to ask john. i introduced them and told john that clinton had something on his mind. and tall, lanky john leaned in so he could talk face-to-face with our little boy.