Farewell to an American Hero

December 19, 2016
Marriotts and John Glenn 1962
My family with John Glenn at our Key Bridge Marriott Hotel in 1962.

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.



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I agree with all the comments on John.
He truly did love his work, as did all of the Original 7! They were pilots first and foremost, and would fly anything, anywhere, anytime!
My husband was one of this great group, and I am happy to say that I knew them all well!

Mr. Marriott:

I enjoyed your comments about Sen. Glenn.

Are there still Hot Shoppes in the Nation's Capitol area? As a child growing up in Alexandria, Va., my family always enjoyed dining there. Thank you.

I currently live in "the other Washington," Washington State, for 19 years. Love it!

a true American hero.

I was fortunate to meet him in 2003 when I worked for the Education Commission of the States. Then Senator Glenn remained as humble and personable even then. What a great loss!

I'm a little jealous. Such an honor! I've been a lover of the works of NASA since I was a little girl. This is a very heartwarming story!

Sheida "Loki" Birgani

Sir , This is truly memorable experience with John and very touchy and He was a truly gentleman and HERO indeed

On behalf of other fellow associates around the globe who enjoy History like myself ,we want to thank you for sharing this piece of information

Thank you for you "On the move" posts. They are an inspiration to e and my family. Please keep this tradition going. John Glen was a true American hero and and his legend will live on along side all the other pioneers of the world. As American and a veteran I hope and pray that our children can appreciate the sacrifices by all who have served and protected our values and morals in the years to come.

Thank you for being an American institution that we all can be proud of.

Barry Judd

This was a great moment in American history and a source of great pride.

Bill: Twenty some years ago I was invited to one of John Glenn's campaign rallies and a commercial photographer friend of mine was there. He took a picture of John and me. I was never one to take a good picture unless one counts the graduation picture from college (also by a professional photographer.) In all my 87 years it was the best picture I had ever taken and it sets on a bookshelf in my kitchen. You are absolutely right in that he truly is an American hero and an inspiration to us all.
Thanks for the post. Tom Osterman

I really admire the "philosophy" of Marriott. The approach and the concept are realistic and right. the Humane, as guest or employee, is the center of attention. I will be proud to be part of the team and representing this great label witch is Marriott.
The Marriott Concept is the example to inspire the right way and very high motivation.
Thank you.