Wally’s arrival last week was very exciting, to be sure. Highlights include seeing the portrait for the first time as it was handed over from Immigration Customs Enforcement to the Leopold Foundation, admiring the delicacy of the brushstrokes, and watching it be hung with the greatest of care on our third floor. We even managed to get a non-flash photo with three of our four staff redheads next to it.
Following the dramatic ceremony held here last Thursday there was a long line to see the painting; it extended far into The Morgenthaus: A Legacy of Service. The week’s activities were chronicled by a documentary film crew that has been working on the film for at least three years. In fact they came here to film in 2008, long before we knew Wally would be visiting.
Members of the staff who attended the ceremony last week told me they felt like they were a part of history, but my favorite line was this: “I went home and told my mom how that moment was going to stay with me.” It was definitely a day that reminded us why we do the work we do.
There has been a lot of press generated by the ceremony, and I invite you to Google, Bing, or Yahoo “Portrait of Wally” to read it. I warn you, however, that if you do an image search of Portrait of Wally on Yahoo.com you will be shown an image of Wally from Scott Adams’ cartoon Dilbert, and that just made me laugh out loud. It also made me appreciate that the world is full of interesting connections, including those I would not necessarily make myself.
Photo of speakers from the ceremony held last week. From left: Robert Morgenthau, Andre Bondi, Howard Spiegler, Ray Kelly, Jim Hayes, Preet Bharara, David Marwell. Photo by Melanie Einzig.