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President Kennedy's Statement on Glenn Spaceflight

Feb. 20, 1962 - Following is the text of President Kennedy’s statement on Colonel Glenn’s flight: “I know that I express the great happiness and thanksgiving of all of us that Colonel Glenn has completed his trip, and I know that this is particularly felt by Mrs. Glenn and his two children. A few days ago Colonel Glenn came to the White House and visited me, and he is — as are the other astronauts — the kind of American of whom we are most proud. Some years ago, as a Marine pilot, he raced the sun across this country and lost. Today he won. I also want to say a word for all those who participated with Colonel Glenn in Canaveral. They faced many disappointments and delays — the burdens upon them were great — but they kept their heads and they made a judgment, and I think their judgment has been vindicated. We have a long way to go in this space race. We started late. But this is the new ocean, and I believe the United States must sail on it and be in a position second to none. Some months ago I said that I hoped every American would serve his country. Today Colonel Glenn served his, and we all express our thanks to him.” The“race across this country” in the President’s statement is a reference to the first supersonic transcontinental flight flown by Colonel Glenn on July 16, 1957.

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