I traveled last week (November 8-11, 2012) to New York City and because of my age and other circumstances it was probably my last trip. I have a lot of memories connected to New York, especially relating to World War II. During the war, I spent time at the Brooklyn Naval Yard and Sheepshead Bay. When the war in Europe ended, my company made its way through Grand Central Station to board a troop train for a long train ride to California. The train was pulled by a steam-powered locomotive with those great sounds that my generation will never forget and coming generations will never hear.
This trip was at the invitation of the American-Scottish Foundation to present the Wallace Award to Alan Bain. I stayed at The University Club of New York located at 54th and 5th Avenue. It was built in 1899 and designed by Charles McKim, William Mead and Stanford White. They were all members of the Club and all Scottish Americans. They designed a wonderful library modeled after the Vatican Apartments with ceiling murals by H. Siddons Mowbray. Most of my free time was spent doing research in the library. (If you visit their web site you can see pictures.) Next year, Alan Bain will celebrate 50 years of continuous membership. Quite an accomplishment!
The American- Scottish Foundation started the Wallace awards in 1970. It was designed to recognize individuals of Scottish descent “for outstanding achievement and significant contribution in their field of endeavor.” Sen. Trent Lott was given the Wallace award in 2000. He was the Republican Senate Majority Leader and was the sponsor of Senate Resolution 155 “that adopted April 6, in perpetuity, as National Tartan Day.” Other recipients include: Duncan A. Bruce, The Rt. Hon. Lord Smith of Kelvin, The Rt. Hon. Lord Robertson, Euan Baird, the Forbes Family and Sir Sean Connery.
This year the Honorees were:
Sir Ian Wood, CBE, John Wood Group PLC - Chairman
Miss Duncan MacDonald, The Scottish Coalition USA - Trustee
Dr. Alan L. Bain, The American-Scottish Foundation - Pres. Emeritus
The Gala Dinner was held at The University club of New York City. It was a spectacular event! I was at table 15 with Gus Noble and Bob McWilliams along with seven other individuals. It was nice to have President Gus Noble, representing The Chicago Scots at the event, as we continue to have a very close working arrangement with the American Scottish Foundation. We are indebted to Heather Bain and Gus Noble for preserving this relationship.
Saturday morning, I had breakfast with the Bain family and then made my way to Grand Central Station and the main branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd street. After a few hours, I made my way to Times Square and coffee at McDonald’s. That evening, I was the guest of Alan Bain for dinner at Cellini’s on 54th street.
Sunday morning, I left the Club early because 5th Avenue was being closed for the Veteran’s Day Parade. A taxi to Grand Central Station and the bus to LaGuardia allowed me to take an early flight home. Part of my expenses were paid by the American-Scottish Foundation and the remainder by Mrs. June Steele of Lake Forest and the Halverson Fund. Thanks.
Tomorrow, I will post my remarks in presenting Dr. Alan L. Bain for his Wallace Award. This will place the presentation on the Internet where 24,656 have read our posts since January 2012.
Wayne Rethford, President Emeritus
Illinois St. Andrew’s Society
The Annual Meeting and Christmas Party of the Illinois Saint Andrew Society will be held on December 9, 2012 (3:00-5:00 p.m.) in Heritage Hall at the Scottish Home. Please RSVP to Kristen Guthrie or call 708-426-7127.