Monday, April 16, 2007
Uncle Adrian Becomes Commander of Swedish Polar Star
Don't laugh, but Uncle Adrian, New York City Parks Commish extraordinaire, got awarded some amazing honor last week.
Well at first when mother came home with the news, I thought it was a late April Fool's joke.
But no, all dressed up in her fanciest suit, with pearls and perfume (yuck!) she went off to the Swedish Embassy on 64th and Park Avenue and watched dear Uncle "A" (as we in the family know him) become awarded a Commander of the Polar Star.
The Swedish Order of the Polar Star was instituted in 1748 by King Fredrik I. Until 1975 the award was only given to Swedish citizens for "civic virtue, long meritorious service to the nation," and other wonderful things.
Since then, the recognition has also been accorded to foreign nationals and to other people who may have promoted Swedish interests.
While Ambassador Ulf Hjertsson read the good stuff about "A" Benepe, most of what he had surmised about the family name was indeed true, that Benepe means Good Sword in French, and that the title had been accorded to an ancestor by Napolean. How he managed to obtain that information is beyond my black hairy head, but it is indeed true.
So what did Uncle A do? He put up a statue in Theodore Roosevelt Park for Nobel Prize Laureates.
Wrote the NY Times on October 15, 2003, "A monument dedicated to American winners of the Nobel Prize was unveiled yesterday in a ceremony attended by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and dozens of past Nobel Prize winners.
The monument, a four-sided monolith of red Swedish granite, is engraved with the names of 271 American winners. It is behind the American Museum of Natural History in Theodore Roosevelt Park. In 1906, Mr. Roosevelt, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, became the first American to win the Nobel. Space has been left on the monument for the names of future winners."
Said a statement from the Swedish consul, "His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf is the Grand Master of this Order, and decisions on teh conferment of distinctions are made by him on the recommendation of the Swedish Government," in this case, Ambassador and Consul General to the United States, Ulf Hjertonsson.
I had to see the pictures to believe her.
There she was with Aunt Charlotte and my nephew Erik (handsome devil!)
PS, when can I go for my spring ride, and when oh when will it stop raining?