In 1962, I watched in awe as John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. It was an incredible feat. The times were so uncertain and full of worldwide turmoil. But that flight gave Americans something to be proud of—something to have hope in—and showed the world that our nation could lead the space race.
When John “splashed down” after that orbit on Friendship 7, he was inundated with media and fans alike at his home. One of our associates thought it would be a good idea to send some Hot Shoppes chicken boxes over to his home for his family to enjoy. He rightly assumed the family had little time to prepare lunch in all of the excitement!
Later that day, to get a bit of quiet time before he made his way to New York City for the ticker tape parade, John and his family checked in to the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel where my parents warmly welcomed the new American hero. He humbly accepted the accolades and attention, but it was obvious he simply loved the work. He was thrilled to be part of history doing what he loved to do.
John was an inspiring man throughout his long career—from his time in the Marine Corps, his explorations with NASA, and his service to our nation in the U.S. Senate. Our paths crossed again when he moved into my neighborhood shortly after he was first elected to the Senate. I would often stop and visit with him as he jogged through the neighborhood. He had the warmth and charisma of Eisenhower.
I am honored to have known John Glenn. I am deeply thankful for his service to our country—he truly is an American hero. My thoughts are with his wife, Annie, and their children and grandchildren.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.