John Glenn was buried in his “dress blues.”
Before he passed away at the age of 95, he lived much of his life as a walking, talking folk hero, a living legend who was not only the first American to orbit the earth but a United States senator for five terms and daring test pilot. But perhaps most important to him above all these things was the fact that he was a U.S. Marine, and this fact was certainly not lost on any of the young leathernecks asked to guard his casket while it rested for public viewing at the Ohio Statehouse last week.
“It was really an honor to guard his casket. I’ve always wanted to be a Marine and Glenn was an inspiration,” said one of the Marines, Connor McDaniel, originally from Fremont, Ohio to the Newark Advocate.
“We as Marines take care of our own, and he requested before his death to only have Marines on guard.”
McDaniel will never forget the moment he shared with Glenn’s widow, Annie, while she clutched her late husband’s flag and stood in front of the casket (the two were married for 73 years).
“It was an honor,” said McDaniel. “You’ve got this woman crying over the casket and she was caressing the flag and tried to reach out and grab me. I had to stand still, but it hits you right in the soul. She starting saying how thankful she was that the Marines were here honoring her husband.”
The second-year Marine will be a part of parades and ceremonies until October, when he’s to be deployed.
Before he does, he’ll be a part of the presidential inauguration ceremony at the end of January. He’s stationed in the nation’s capital, at the Marine Barracks 8th and I.
“Being in D.C., you’re always on high alert, but for us there (also) will be secret service and (other) security.”