NASA Center Celebrates its New Name
On March 1, 1999 the Lewis Research Center was officially renamed the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field. To celebrate the new name and to honor two outstanding men, John H. Glenn
and George W. Lewis
, the center hosted a full day of festivities.
Parade for a Pioneer
The salute to Ohio's native son, John Glenn, began at 10:45 a.m. with an F-16 fly-over, signaling the start of a parade. Employees, their families and dignitaries lined the streets of the center as the senator and his wife, Annie, stood in review of the parade.
Image right: John and Annie Glenn ride a parade float at a celebration of the NASA Glenn Research Center's new name. Credit: NASA
The parade featured nearly 50 units, including honor guards, employee and veterans groups, marching bands, educational and scouting groups, and floats. Much to the delight of the gathered crowd, John and Annie Glenn joined in for the finale of the parade by boarding a space shuttle float. The parade led into a picnic, where everyone gathered to eat, listen to live music, and visit an open research facility. "Max Q," a group of seven astronauts who play for special occasions, performed some of the songs.
Inspiration for the Next Generation
John and Annie Glenn visited the Lewis Little Folks day care center. The children presented Glenn with a basket of items, including T-shirts, a book titled "Grandpa Take Me to the Moon," the daycare center's cookbook and homemade cookies from a recipe that Glenn contributed. Sen. Glenn also took the time to read the children an illustrated biography they wrote while learning about his life.
The Glenns visited another group of children who were participating in educational activities at the NASA Glenn Visitor Center. They also caught a preview of the new John Glenn Gallery, "A Tribute to an American Hero," at the Visitor Center. The gallery features models and replicas of spacecraft and spacesuits from John Glenn's two space missions.
Celebration for a Hero
The apex of the day was an official ceremony. NASA Glenn employees, their families and dignitaries gathered in the NASA Glenn Hangar to salute the local hero and celebrate the legacy of George Lewis.
Several very special guests made remarks: NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin, Sen. Mike DeWine who proposed the center name change legislation, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and a representative from Ohio Governor Bob Taft's office. Also seated on stage were former Center Director Abe Silverstein, George W. Lewis III, and Milton Wolf, former Ambassador to Austria and a close friend of John Glenn.
Image left: A parade fills the streets of the NASA Glenn Research Center during the name-change festivities. Credit: NASA
Humbled by the kind words of the speakers, Glenn addressed the gathering. He expressed his honor to be associated with the center, its historical contributions and its bright future. Noting the slogan on one of the parade floats, "Expanding Horizons...Opening Frontiers," he challenged the men and women of NASA Glenn to continue working to make that mission a reality for future explorers in air and space.
The ceremony ended with the unveiling of the official center name change mosaic. The image features the NASA Glenn Hangar repainted with the new name along with a collage of images representing NASA Glenn's diverse workforce and historic contributions and awards. John Glenn then signed the mosaic, which will be displayed in the Auditorium of the NASA Glenn Visitor Center.
+ Download Name Change Mosaic
+ Read History of Center Names
+ Visit NASA's John Glenn Page