Events expanding to mark 100 years since John Glenn's birth

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FILE - In this Jan. 11, 1961 file photo, then Marine Lt. Col. John Glenn reaches for controls inside a Mercury capsule procedures trainer as he shows how the first U.S. astronaut will ride through space during a demonstration at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Research Center in Langley Field, Va. Glenn's birthplace and childhood hometown in Ohio are celebrating what would have been the history-making astronaut and U.S. senator's 100th birthday with a three-day festival from July 16 through July 18, 2021. (AP Photo/File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A three-day celebration of what would have been history-making astronaut John Glenn's 100th birthday began Friday in his birthplace and childhood hometown in Ohio, even as additional events were announced to mark the occasion.

Glenn, who died in 2016, was the first American to orbit Earth, making him a national hero in 1962. In addition to his military and space accomplishments, he spent 24 years as a Democrat in the U.S. Senate.

The John Glenn Centennial Celebration in both Cambridge, where Glenn was born on July 18, 1921, and nearby New Concord, where he grew up and met his late wife, Annie, runs through Sunday. It includes a parade, the Friendship 7-Miler road race named for his famous aircraft, lectures, museum tours, space movies, biplane and rocket car rides, music and children's science activities.

At Ohio State University, the John Glenn College of Public Affairs has updated seven display cases in Page Hall in honor of Glenn’s life, legacy of public service and relationship to the university, which houses Glenn's archives. Items displayed include speeches, letters, diaries and news clippings. The college plans additional events throughout the year.

A pending Ohio House resolution would urge Congress to award both Glenns a Congressional Gold Medal.