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Obama taps Glenn, 12 others for Medal of Freedom

The Dispatch – Former astronaut and former U.S. Sen. John Glenn will be one of 13 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Barack Obama announced yesterday.

Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, will join former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, folk singer Bob Dylan, University of Tennessee woman’s basketball coach Pat Summitt and author Toni Morrison, who is also a native Ohioan, in receiving the honor.

The Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is presented to people “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Glenn was nominated by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

The awards will be presented at the White House in late spring.

In 1962, Glenn became the third American to go into space. He was elected to the Senate in 1974 and served until retiring in 1999. In 1998, at age 77, he became the oldest person to visit space.

Glenn also is a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

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