For his lifetime achievements Charles Rosner (1941 - 2013) was awarded by the French Republic with the National Order of the Legion of Honour, the highest decoration in France. At the award-giving ceremony in Monaco in 2001 Charles Rosner was not yet aware, that he would later write his memoirs. But his award-receiving speach anticipated this exercise. After the usual courtesy formulas, he came to say the following:
"This hour is my hour... and I dedicate it to Memory. Memory of the Past, to start with my parents. It is of good taste to mention one’s parents on similar occasions. As for me, it is neither tradition nor good taste, which drive me: it is the emotion. An emotion that grips the chest of the only son I was, with what I know of the history of my family, and with the memory of the sacrifices that my parents so naturally carried out, without even thinking of it, so that I could live a different life than the one they had known... My parents, who would have been so proud to be there today, on such an occasion. To my father and mother I say: this medal and this acknowledgement are yours!
Memory of the Past, also, with my 'friends for fifty years': you, whom I met in sixth grade at the Lyceum and who became my brothers and my family in France for so many years. Memory of the Past, as well, with all those I admired and who taught me so much. You were the spiritual parents of a part of myself, for some during my childhood, for others when already an adult, in both my private and professional lives. Today, I want to thank you, even if you cannot hear me.And Memory of the Present, to start with my wife Marie-France. When we met, I had already struck out any positive development for my private life. It’s thanks to you, and even more so, that we have been able to build a family and a home of which we can be proud. And it’s together that we struggled and made the most of it; it’s together that we traveled; it’s together that we conquered new horizons each time. And it’s together that we confronted the happiness and misfortunes of life. To you, my partner, I say: This medal is yours! And you gave me a new family, to start with 'Belle-Maman': as I often say, I wish to every man to understand as well with his mother-in-law as I enjoy understanding with mine! This new and enlarged family that 'Beau-Papa' envelops into a Provencal sunshine, and of which the new generation symbolizes so well the children of the 'Good Book'! To you, Marie-France, I again say: this medal is yours! Memory of the Present also, with all my friends and colleagues at work. In a few months, it will be thirty years that we reciprocally accept and appreciate each other. Sometimes, this was a difficult exercise for me, but always an exciting one, an exercise having its tense and satisfactory moments, as well as its times of common efforts. Together, we represent our Great Firm in the world. And, if I sometimes have a feeling that I gave a lot, I know that the reverse is also true. […]
To all of you, friends and colleagues from the past and the present, I say: Thank you! And finally, Memory for the Future, for my children. May this ceremony, and the recognition it represents for me, the son of immigrants and an immigrant myself, remain in your memory. To you, my three children, I say: always give the best of yourself, live consciously, and this medal will be yours!"
Courtesy: David Rosner