Biden says John Glenn defined being an American

Political leaders and military and space officials joined mourners in the state's capital city

Marines stand guard at the casket of John Glenn, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. Glenn's home state and the nation began saying goodbye to the famed astronaut who died last week at the age of 95. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Vice President Joe Biden says space pioneer John Glenn “defined what it meant to be an American.”

Biden told a memorial service crowd packing an Ohio State University auditorium Saturday that fellow Democratic lawmaker Glenn knew that ordinary Americans could do extraordinary things.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. John Dailey says the nation had Glenn for 95 years and “it still wasn’t enough.”

Political leaders and military and space officials joined mourners in the state’s capital city.

Bagpipes played as the flag-draped coffin was brought into Mershon Auditorium. A procession of Glenn’s hearse went from the Ohio Statehouse to the memorial service called “a celebration of life” for the former fighter pilot, astronaut and longtime U.S. senator from small-town Ohio.

A chorus sang “Let There Be Peace On Earth” to a packed Ohio State University auditorium, capping a memorial service filled with moving tributes.

Ethel Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. were among mourners present, along with Ohio political leaders. Glenn was a longtime Democratic U.S. senator.

Glenn died on Dec. 8. He was the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962, and in 1998 became the oldest person in space at age 77.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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