President John F. Kennedy spoke in the Flower Garden at the White House following an introduction by Martin M. Decker, President of the National Aeronautic Association. Mr. Decker spoke on behalf of the Association and Look magazine, which annually awards the Robert I. Collier trophy for outstanding achievement in aviation. The trophy was presented jointly to the original seven-man team of astronauts: Lt. Comdr. M. Scott Carpenter, Maj. L. Gordon Cooper, Jr., Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, Jr., Maj. Virgil I. Grissom, Comdr. Walter M. Schirra, Jr., Comdr. Alan Shepard, and Maj. Donald K. Slayton.
‘’And I am particularly glad that the decision has been made to award the trophy this year to them. I think it honors an extraordinary page in American history, as well as in the history of flight. And I hope that this award, which in a sense closes out this particular phase of the space program, will be a stimulus to them and to other astronauts who will carry our flag to the moon and perhaps even someday beyond. So it is a great pleasure for me to present to them this celebrated award.’’