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Columbus Airport Renamed in Honor of John Glenn

John Glenn airport
ANDY CHOW
/
OHIO PUBLIC RADIO

The main airport in Columbus has been renamed to honor John Glenn. But the American icon says the new name will play a much bigger role for people flying in and out of Columbus. 

A stage was set right in the middle of the busy terminal at what used to be called the Port Columbus International Airport. And even though travelers were rushing to the ticketing counter or over to the security line or down to baggage claim, the sight of John Glenn seemed to stop them in their tracks.

The record-breaking fighter pilot, astronaut and former U.S. Senator was center stage to accept the honor of renaming it as  John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

Glenn said seeing his name up on the signs is more than just an honor but a chance to inspire young people.

“And what their interest and develop their interest in knowing that they in their time can do as many new things as have been done in aviation and in flying in the past,” he said.

The renaming ceremony drew some of the state’s and city’s top leaders – and it was a bipartisan event for the former Democratic Senator. Republican House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger reflected on the advice Glenn passed down to him before Rosenberger was sworn in as speaker, and that was to push politics aside to work for the people.

“And I know that as folks pass through there they will remember that great American legend and icon John Glenn and keep that spirit and innovation and adventure, the spirit of citizenship as he cares so much about, in their minds as they get to pass through this great city and through the halls of this airport,” he said.

Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor listed off Glenn’s many accomplishments; from his work as a test pilot in the U.S. Navy, becoming the first person to orbit the Earth, serving Ohio as a U.S. Senator and then becoming the oldest person to travel into space.

“For many travelers an airport symbolizes excitement and adventure and the possibilities of what is to come. And I believe John Glenn also represents excitement, adventure and the possibilities yet to come,” she said.

After Glenn’s speech, the crowd counted down to the unveiling of the new sign in the center of the terminal that read: John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

The change was made through a bipartisan bill in the Ohio General Assembly right before the lawmakers went on summer break.