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Thursday, 17 June 2004

The President of Poland decorated Sir Edmund Hillary

On the 17 of June 2004, President of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski received Sir Edmund Hillary at the Presidential Palace. In appreciation of the outstanding achievements for the world Himalayan mountaineering and charity work, the President decorated Sir Edmund Hillary with the Commander’ s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. Following is the speech delivered by President Kwaśniewski at the ceremony: Mr. Hillary, Mrs. Hillary, Ladies & Gentlemen, It is with great pleasure that I welcome you at the Presidential Palace. I welcome the first person who reached the top of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary. I would like to express my joy that you are among the most remarkable personalities who have been in this Palace. I don’t need to convince anybody in this gathering that Sir Hillary is one of the most outstanding figures of the world Himalayan mountaineering. He reached the top of Mount Everest fifty-one years ago. His fame has been strengthened by his activity in organising expeditions to the highest mountains. He has also reached the South Pole. You Sir, are the representative of the romantic, which is close to the spirit of generation of Polish explorers and pioneers. Without any doubt you have influenced to a great extent the imagination and actions of many youngsters, also in Poland, who admire you and look up to your achievements enthusiastically, got involved in Alpine expeditions. Today they belong to the world mountaineering elite. Reaching the top of “the mountain of the mountains” you have received world-wide acclaim and admiration. With time, you have also won something even more valuable: the great respect and love of people from all continents. This is because you have used your authority. Through many of initiatives you have helped the poorest regions of the Himalayas. Thanks to you, many schools, hospitals, airports, bridges, waterworks have been built. You have also great achievements in saving the lungs of the earth, the extensive forests in the national parks of Asia. You were the first researcher on the influence of high altitudes on the human organism during the Himalayan winter. All these achievements deserve our greatest appreciation. Sir Edmund Hillary hasn’t ceased working for the good of others. He is the honorary president of the International Association of Explorers and Researchers – the Explorers’ Club, the great remarkable organisation that has its hundredth anniversary this year. As an author of popular books, he shares the wealth of his reflections on the human being in the modern world. His activity is a model to people who are looking for the meaning of life and fulfilling activities based on brotherhood and friendliness. In appreciation of the remarkable contributions of Sir Edmund Hillary for the international community, including the Polish Alpine movement I have decided to decorate our guest with a Commander’ s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. This is one of the highest Polish orders, one that is awarded to foreigners who have undertaken activities beneficial to our society, activities that stimulate and encourage ambitions and motivate our people to the initiatives that contribute to the public interest. Please accept with this order my congratulations. I wish you and your wife long years of life in health and wellbeing. You have a lot of admirers and friends in our country. And I wish that you will leave Poland with the best memories. Here, in the heart of Europe, we highly appreciate the courage of explorers and the initiatives thanks to which the world is becoming better, more just and safer. Your personal achievements and deep humanitarianism will be cherished in our memory forever. Thank you very much Mr. Hillary. It is a great honour that you are here with us in Warsaw.
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