John Glenn’s Westport Connection

One year from today, Americans will celebrate the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s historic 4 1/2-hour, 3-orbit tour of earth.

This morning, only CBS’s “Sunday Morning” took note of the day.  But one Westporter watched avidly — and recalled the events of February 20, 1962.

Jo Ann Miller’s family lived next door to the Glenns in Arlington, Virginia.  Her father, Lt. Gen. Thomas Miller, went to flight school with Glenn in 1941, and flew with him at Midway and Korea.  Glenn is godfather to Jo Ann and her 2 siblings.

John Glenn (Photo/Wikipedia)

After this morning’s show, Jo Ann emailed Glenn.  She recalled the many postponements leading up the historic flight — and how each time, her parents woke the Miller kids at 5 a.m. to set up borrowed cafeteria tables and coffee makers for the press who descended on the house next door to the Glenns.

After Glenn retired from the space program,  Ohioans elected him to 4 terms in the Senate.  In 1984 he ran for president.  Then, in 1998, he returned to space.  At age 77, he spent 9 days on a shuttle mission.

Jo Ann traveled to Florida for the launch.  She stood with her father — a special commentator for NBC.   He was “so proud and happy for you,” Jo Ann said in today’s e-mail to her godfather.

Though Jo Ann Miller eagerly watched this morning’s CBS piece, John Glenn missed it.  He doesn’t sit around much.  He’s 89 years old — and still flying a plane.

(Click here to see Charles Osgood’s “Sunday Morning” piece on John Glenn.)

4 responses to “John Glenn’s Westport Connection

  1. Larry Perlstein

    I vividly remember watching the launch with my grandmother — I was 5 — it’s on my list of the most important moments I remember. John Glenn is a true American hero. I’m envious of Jo Ann — I’d love to meet him.

  2. The Dude Abides

    I have had the privledge and honor of getting to know personally John Glenn and his lovely wife of 70 years, Annie. From breaking bread with them at the Congressional Club in Maryland, to sheding a last tear with the good Senator when he lost his best friend, Tom Miller, to cheering non-stop after his 2009 commencement address at Ohio State, it has been an incredible experience. I thank them for that and specifically John Glenn’s 47 years of service to this country. He makes you proud to be an American.

  3. A Special Time in American History.
    JFK was right John Glenn is very much a Hero.
    For the man he is, not only because of his space ventures
    but he has cared and loved this country most of his life.
    He has dedicated his life serving
    this country and world with conviction, faith, and good will.
    God Bless John Glenn!

  4. A true role model. And, yes, his space launch and orbit were inspirational for many young children back then.