“I’m thankful to be healthy and to be living in a peaceful country,” explained Alessandra Nonnweiler of Luxembourg Air Rescue.
“When you see what happened in Paris, you really don’t know where the next bomb will explode,” a view mirrored by many of the evening’s guests including Jean-Marie Spaus of Post. “It’s always a good moment to say thank you. After all the bad events in Paris, it’s possible to take a little distance and think about family, friends and to count your blessings. And of course Paul is a good friend and we wanted to say thank you to him and his team for what they’ve done during the year.”
Paul Schonenberg, Amcham chairman and CEO, opened the event in reflective mood. “We all lead really busy lives, we work hard and we don’t have enough time to think back, relax and say thank you--for the opportunity we have to live in a lovely country like Luxembourg, for a government that does a pretty good job of taking care of the international community and for family and friends. We are really very privileged and very lucky.”
He went on to thank a number of people for their contributions including his “three angels”--Dilek Ayaydin, Malek Lahmadi and Natalia Durus--whom he credited with doing the lion’s share of the hard work; Alison Shorter-Lawrence, the US chargé d’affaires, and David Goldrake, the guest of honour for whom Amcham has an enormous amount of respect and deep affection.
Schonenberg went on to explain that Goldrake would be leaving Luxembourg shortly for the US, which he said, reinforces the ties that connect and the ties that bind. During an emotional presentation, Goldrake received a bouquet of flowers and an American flag that had been specially flown across Luxembourg in his honour by Luxembourg Air Rescue.
A second such flag was presented to the British ambassador to Luxembourg, Alice Walpole, “for being a fabulous ambassador for her country and for being a really wonderful person besides”.
She will be leaving Luxembourg in January, “and I thought this was going to be one of the few evenings when I didn’t get to make a speech,” Walpole joked. “All good things come to an end and this flag will be a wonderful memento for me. It’s great to know it’s been flown around by Luxembourg Air Rescue because of all the Luxembourg companies I’ve had dealings with, it’s been one that has impressed me enormously.”
A sumptuous roast turkey dinner was then enjoyed by all and heels were kicked off with abandon as Marco Boesen and friends struck their very first chords.
“The Amcham Thanksgiving dinner is the event of the year,” enthused Catharina Biver of Sparx Factory. “I’ll be marking it in my diary for 2016 as soon as I get home; I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”