By JULIE CARR SMYTH
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - John Glenn is continuing to inspire 55 years after becoming the first American to orbit Earth.
Since Glenn's death on Dec. 8 at the age of 95, devotees have visited an exhibit of his artifacts at Ohio State University, backers have begun fundraising for an observatory and astronomy park in Glenn's name and work has begun on a 7-foot statue in his likeness.
Glenn's storied life included time as a military test pilot and U.S. senator, but it was the history-making Mercury mission that propelled Glenn and his spacecraft Friendship 7 into the history books.
The anniversary of the flight is Monday.
During 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds on Feb. 20, 1962, the capsule circled the Earth three times, making Glenn the first American to orbit Earth.