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Astronaut Schirra Visits President Kennedy

Oct. 16, 1962 - President Kennedy played host in his office today to Comdr. Walter M. Schirra Jr., the six-orbit astronaut’s wife, and their two children. The President, sitting in his rocking chair, swapped small talk with the youngsters and discussed with the 39-year-old commander his nine-hour spaceflight. Commander Schirra enjoyed celebrations in Honolulu and in Houston, Tex., where he now lives, and he received a wild confetti ride through a string of towns in his native New Jersey yesterday. Twelve-year-old Walter M. Schirra 3d left the White House with a Presidential tie-clip as a gift. His 5-year-old sister, Suzanne, got a new chain bracelet. At the start of the visit, Suzanne looked shyly at President Kennedy and said, “I know who you are.” The President asked her if she had watched her father’s flight, and she nodded yes. President Kennedy asked her age, and she held up five fingers of her left hand. Mr. Kennedy then asked Suzanne if she had seen the ponies kept at the White House for the two Kennedy children. Suzanne shook her head no. So, the President took her and the other Schirras out to see the ponies.


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