Memorializing John Glenn

Dave Ghose

Michael Sheehy's heart is in the right place. Unfortunately, his idea isn't.

Shortly after John Glenn died in December, Sheehy, a state representative from suburban Toledo, proposed building a memorial for Glenn atthe Statehouse. And while it's pretty much impossible to disagree with the sentiment behind the effort, there is a problem with Sheehy's idea: The location is wrong.

Glenn never served at the Statehouse. His entire political career took place in Washington, D.C., where he was a U.S. senator from 1974 to 1999. So if Columbus is going to create a bronze likeness of its most heroic former resident, that statue belongs at a place in town with more significance for the late astronaut. Two immediately come to mind that already bear his name: Ohio State's John Glenn College of Public Affairs, which he helped establish, and the John Glenn Columbus International Airport, where he fell in love with aviation as a child.

Sheehy doesn't really disagree. “I really like your suggestion about Ohio State,” he tells me during a recent conversation. He also says it's more “natural” for a state representative like him to push for a Statehouse memorial. “I just want to make sure that he's recognized.”

If that's the case, then Sheehy really should change course. A person isn't eligible for a Statehouse memorial until 25 years after his or her death, according to state law. Sheehy hopes to persuade officials to override this rule, but who knows if he'll be successful.

Glenn bypassed the Statehouse during his long political career. His statue should do the same.