NASA Audio File

Text Size

Former NASA Astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn was one of 13 recipients awarded the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama during a White House ceremony on May 29. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded by the President of the United States and is, along with the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian award. It recognizes those individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors." An original Mercury 7 astronaut, Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth (1962). He’s also the oldest human to fly in space, serving as a 77-year-old mission specialist on space shuttle Discovery’s STS-95 mission (1998).

TRT: 3:05
Supers: White House/NASA
HQ Contact: Joshua Buck, 202-358-1100
For more info:

President Barack Obama

VF 12-0309-1: (President Barack Obama) "Every one of today's honorees is blessed with an extraordinary amount of talent. All of them are driven, but we can fill this room many times over with people who are talented and driven. What sets these men and women apart is the incredible impact they have had on so many people. Not in short, blinding bursts but steadily, over the course of a lifetime."
› Play Now

VF 12-0309-2:(President Barack Obama) "On the morning that John Glenn blasted off into space Americans stood still. For a half an hour the phones stopped ringing in Chicago Police Headquarters. In the New York subway drivers offered a play-by-play account over the loudspeakers. President Kennedy interrupted a breakfast with Congressional leaders and joined one hundred million TV viewers to hear the famous words, 'Godspeed John Glenn'."
› Play Now

VF 12-0309-3:(President Barack Obama) "The first American to orbit the Earth. John Glenn became a hero in every since of the word. But he didn't stop there serving his country. As a Senator he found new ways to make a difference and on his second trip into space at age 77 he defied the odds once again. But he reminds everybody, don't tell him he's 'lived' a historic life, he says, 'are living', he'll say - don't put it in past tense, he's still got a lot of stuff going on."
› Play Now

VF 12-0309-4: (Unknown speaker announcing Glenn's accomplishments prior to medal being awarded) "John Glenn has set a superlative example in his service to our nation. As a Marine Corp pilot and the first American to orbit the Earth he sparked our passions for ingenuity and adventure and lifted humanity's ambitions into the expanses of space. In the United States Senate he worked tirelessly to ensure all Americans had the opportunity to reach for limitless dreams. Whether by advancing legislation to limit the spread of nuclear weapons or by becoming the oldest person to visit space, John Glenn's example has moved us all to look to new horizons with drive and optimism."
› Play Now