His Excellency Joachim Kardinal M e i s n e r
Oberbürgermeister Norbert B ü r g e r, Rathaus Köln
Heinz Otto S c h m i t z - P r a n g h e, Bürgergessellschaft Köln
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The United States Museum of European Art sends our sincere congratulations to the people of the City of Köln on the happy occasion of the unveiling of the bust of Josef Kardinal Frings.
It is in the human nature that we often forget the good deeds that others have done for us in the past, that we take for granted their helping hands and their loving hearts.
So it is with respect and admiration that we should express our thanks today to the "Bürgergessellschaft Köln" and its chairman, Mr. Schmitz-Pranghe for their initiative to honor the memory of Josef Kardinal Frings. In the very hard years shortly after the war, the Kardinal gave much moral support and hope to the people of Köln. For this he is well remembered by many even to this day, and the larger-than-life bronze bust will preserve for future generations the memory of this noble and loving man of God, and friend of the common man.
The artist who created the larger-than-life bronze portrait of Josef Kardinal Frings -- Kurt Arentz from Leverkusen -- is no stranger in America. His decades-long engagement to support friendly relations between Europe and America is valued by many of his friends and admirers. Ronald Reagan and George Bush know him well as the "Presidential Sculptor" and their bronze portraits from the hand of Kurt Arentz are in the collections of their Presidential Libraries in California and Texas. As guests of President Bush, my visit with Kurt Arentz and his wife Therese to the Grand Opening of the magnificent George Bush Presidential Library last November and the presentation of the bronze portrait "First Lady Barbara Bush" by Kurt Arentz will always remain for us me personally an unforgettable memory.
Ladies and gentlemen: many of you who are gathered here today have known Josef Kardinal Frings personally. You can be the judge how well the artist has captured not only the physical likeness of the man, but also his kindness, humanity, and love for his fellow man. May the Laurentzplatz become an island of peace and tranquility, an oasis for contemplation, thanksgiving and reflection.
Let us bow our heads in the silent prayer of paying hommage to the memory of one of Köln's extraordinary personalities and favorite sons:
Consul B. John Zavrel
Museum of European Art
Buffalo, New York
March 18, 1998
Copyright 1999 Museum of European Art