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Glenn joins another select group
September 4, 2009 - Jim Smith
Tomorrow afternoon an American hero will receive one of the most public honors an Ohio State University group can bestow.
John Glenn, a former Navy and Marine Corps pilot, test pilot, astronaut and U.S. senator, will be joined by his wife to dot the "i" after the OSU Alumni Marching Band performs its world famous Script Ohio.
Some of us in the newsroom wondered when the traditition began and what non-band members have been so honored ... so I did a little research and this is what I found out:
The dotting is normally reserved for a four-year sousaphone player and has been awarded to only a few prominent individuals and/or couples near and dear to the marching band as the greatest honor the band can bestow on a non-band person.
Those so honored have been Bob Hope, Woody Hayes, OSU President Novice Fawcett and his wife, retired ticket director Robert Ries, OSU alumni and golf legend Jack Nicklaus, OSU president Gordon Gee and his wife, retired band directors Paul Droste and Jack Evans and their wives, and world heavyweight boxing champion Buster Douglas. Additionally 13 seniors of the 2002-2003 National Championship football team dotted the "i" at the National Championship celebration.
With John Glenn's patriotic career it's only fitting he and his wife dot the "i" at the OSU-Navy game, where Glenn says he'll sit on the OSU side.
The tradition, I looked up, began as just another marching formation when it was first performed on Oct. 10, 1936, and the "i" was dotten by trumpet player John Brungart. In fact, it wasn't until Oct. 23, 1937, that Glen R. Johnson became the first sousphone player to dot the "i," which he did from 1937-40.
The dotter's now-traditional big kick, turn and bow began in 1938 as a spur-of-the-moment time-killer when the drum major got Johnson into position three or four measures too soon before the "Buckeye Battle Cry."
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