On this date, February 20, 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. He and his Friendship 7 capsule circled the earth three times during a flight that lasted four hours and 55 minutes. After this historic flight, Friendship 7 and John Glenn safely splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean 800 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida. He became a national hero and an accomplished astronaut, but also went on to become a United States Senator from Ohio.
What many do not know about this famous flight is that John Glenn carried a note with him just in case he unexpectedly landed near a southern Pacific Ocean island. The note was in several languages and read: “I am a stranger. I come in peace. Take me to your leader and there will be a massive reward for you in eternity.”