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Colonel Glenn Cheered Along Pennsylvania Avenue

Feb. 26, 1962 - Lieut. Col. John H. Glenn Jr. was cheered up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol today by thousands of drenched spectators in a demonstration of human and national emotion such as Washington rarely gives. At the Capitol, his hair still damp from the bare-headed ride through the rain, Colonel Glenn spoke for 17 minutes to a joint meeting of Congress. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara called the Glenn appearance “magnificent.” “He showed poise and charm,” the Secretary said. “He is an American that all of us can be proud of.” In his speech, the 40-year-old marine struck a patriotic chord. “I still get a real-hard-to-define feeling down inside when the flag goes by, and I know all of you do too,” he said. Regarding today’s outpouring of people along Pennsylvania Avenue, he said, “I got that same feeling. Let’s hope that none of us ever lose it.” Then the astronaut talked about the advance of knowledge that would come from space exploration. “I feel we are on the brink of an area of expansion of knowledge about ourselves and our surroundings that is beyond description or comprehension at this time,” he said. “Knowledge begets knowledge. The more I see, the more impressed I am, not with how much we know, but with how tremendous the areas are that are as yet unexplored.”

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