May 22, 1963 - In 38 words, Major Gordon Cooper gave New York his heartfelt thanks today “for this wonderful day.” “I don’t generally say very much,” he told nearly 1,900 guests at a luncheon given by the city at the Waldorf-Astoria. “I’m so impressed that today I’m going to say even less. I would just like to say that on behalf of the entire Mercury team, I thank you for this wonderful day.” That brief speech, delivered with obvious feeling, brought smiles and a burst of applause from an audience that seemed happy just to be able to look at the country’s latest astronaut hero. Major Cooper received a standing ovation, and shouts of “bravo” rang through the grand ballroom when he appeared on the flower-decked dais with Mayor Wagner and Vice President Johnson. Speeches extolling Major Cooper and his teammates were made by Mayor Robert Wagner, Vice President Johnson, and former President Herbert Hoover. On the dais with Major Cooper were astronauts Scott Carpenter, Alan Shepard, Donald K. Slayton, Virgil Grissom, and Walter Schirra Jr. The seventh Mercury astronaut, John Glenn, is currently in Japan.
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