Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sons of Norway International President Meets with King Harald V

I don't know if many of you know this, but our esteemed International President Dan Rude is in Norway right now meeting with lodges and, in a little more than a week, helping Eidsvold lodge celebrate its anniversary. As if that weren't cool enough, I just found out that he had an audience with King Harald V!

I caught up with Dan this morning (his afternoon) and asked him a bit about his trip so far. Here's what he had to say:

The visit with the King was amazing! First of all we were picked up at the hotel by Haldor Strand in a Cadillac Fleetwood Limo. This was a very special honor for us, not just because it was a limo, but also because it once belonged to and was driven by King Olav.

We drove up to the palace and were met by one of the secretaries who took us up to the waiting room just outside of King Harald's office. There we were met by another gentleman and at exactly 12:00 noon a chime sounded and the secretary knocked on the King's office door and announced us. We entered and were greeted by the king!!! He asked us to sit down at a table and he settled himself across from us. We talked about a number of things, including:
  • Our travel plans both for Sons of Norway and to meet with friends
  • the royal family's involvement with social issues
  • Princess Marta Louise's book "Why Kings Do Not Wear Crowns"
  • Norway's role on the national scene concerning peace
Because of the importance of education in Norway he even asked about my teaching career.

Then, after meeting with the King we had lunch with Fred Bjerke, who had arranged the audience with the kind in the first place and Haldor Strand.

The next day after getting lost in Oslo we drove down to Kristiansand to visit a family who use to live in Missoula. In the evening we attended a meeting at Bernt Balchen 8-003. The lodge members appreciated our visit and also had two very interesting programs. One was presented by Arnfinn Torjesen who is a retired Seaman's Church pastor. He talked about his live in Texas and New Orleans as a Norwegain Seaman's Church pastor. The other presentation was made by Bjarne Ugland who is a former Deputy Mayor of Kristiansand. He spoke on the Tall Ship Races that are being hosted by the city of Kristiansand in 2010.

After Porgrunn we are going to Voss to meet with two families. The wives in both families were students at the University of Montana and we were like host families for them while they were there. After a few days there we will go to Hamar and then Tønsberg to visit lodges. The weekend will be spent at Eidsvoll 8-009, celebrating their 25 annniversary. As I understand it that there are over 100 people planning to attend the celebration.

Sounds to me like Dan is having a great trip and is playing his role as a Sons of Norway ambassador perfectly! If I get any more info I will be sure to let you know!

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