We bring back one of our favorite memories in commemoration of John Glenn: Pilot, warrior, veteran, astronaut, CEO, senator, educator, and citizen of the USA and the world.
January 2009, Senator Glenn and his wife, Annie Glenn, visited our advanced Chinese language and culture program to discuss language education, internships, and China. He spent over an hour with us, sharing his experiences in China and helping us to understand the ways of Washington. Here is what we learned about this man.
Senator Glenn was involved with China from his early days as a Marine aviator. Soon after the end of World War II, he was assigned to the Nan Yuan Airfield near Beijing (at that time called Beiping) in 1946. Glenn’s descriptions of the poverty and hardship of postwar China and his depiction of the city at that time underscore the amazing development of China in the latter half of the 20th Century. As a Marine pilot, Glenn was assigned to fly to Qinhuangdao, Qingdao, and Shanghai. When we showed him video of the Flagship Qingdao Center, Glenn remembered Qingdao as a remote area where his unit conducted gunnery practice.
Senator Glenn was not surprised to see the pictures of present day Qingdao. During his long public career, he visited China several times. Perhaps most notably was a fact-finding trip he and his wife took with Senator Mike Mansfield that happened to coincide with the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. For more than a month, they visited communes, training centers for barefoot doctors, and traveled to the western reaches of the country. The Senator has continued to pay attention to the development of China and is quick to say that the US-China relationship will be the most important international relationship of the 21st Century.
Instrumental in making this event happen were Bob Maynard, President of Tappan Woods, LLC, Galal Walker, Professor, Director of the Chinese Flagship Program at Ohio State, Sunny Zong, program manager in the Ohio State Chinese Flagship Program. Technical support was provided by Dr. Minru Li, James Liu, and Sujan Manandhar. Also in attendance was Patrick McAloon, who worked with the Glenn School to offer Chinese-language internships in Washington, DC for advanced learners of Chinese.