John Glenn, among the seven men selected by NASA to become the country’s first astronauts, died on Dec. 8 at age 95. The former military man, Senator and astronaut donned the hero mantle on Feb. 20, 1962, when he became the first American to orbit Earth. He wore it lightly and well ever since.
Here’s a glimpse at his extraordinary life, from a black-and-white portrait when he was nine months old (with a finger pointed to the sky) to his return trip to space decades after his first. In between, there are the quiet moments with his wife, Annie; loud moments with the throngs of Americans cheering him on at a parade or ceremony; and insight into his political career from the 1970s to the late ’90s.
As TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger writes in his remembrance of Glenn, “So many Americans have never known a world that didn’t include him. And now all of us—Annie most acutely, but the rest of America too—will have to adjust to a world that is different. And is poorer.”
- Mickey Guyton Is TIME's 2022 Breakthrough Artist of the Year
- The 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2022
- Column: What Elon Musk Gets Wrong About Free Speech
- The Forgotten Story of One of the First U.S. Soldiers Killed Overseas After Pearl Harbor
- Why You're More Likely to Get Sick in the Winter, According to New Research
- Column: What the Protests Tell Us About China's Future
- 18 Last-Minute Gifts for Everyone on Your List
- Despite World Cup Heartbreak, the Future Looks Bright for Men's Soccer in the U.S.