A visit from a prince: Prince Andrew in Uniontown on Sunday
UNIONTOWN -- Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, will visit Uniontown this Sunday for the dedication of the George C. Marshall Plaza.
The reason behind Prince Andrew's visit and the dedication is because 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of the Marshall Scholarship. The scholarship finances up to 40 young Americans each year to study for a graduate or the occasional undergraduate degree in a United Kingdom institution in any field of study.
One of the objectives of the Marshall Scholarship is to express the gratitude of the British people to the American people for the Marshall Plan, which was the project that fostered economic recovery to western European countries after World War II.
The Marshall Scholarship is one of the most prestigious academic awards. Competition for the scholarship is intense, where the final selection of the candidates is made by eight regional selection panels in the U.S. and then an advisory council in Washington, D.C, which is chaired jointly by Her Majesty's Ambassador in Washington and the chairman of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission.
The 50th anniversary is marked by a series of events in England and parts of western Pennsylvania, and Prince Andrew will formally dedicate a plaque at The Marshall Memorial Plaza from the British Government honoring General Marshall.
Prince Andrew was born on Feb. 19, 1960, at Buckingham Palace, the second son and third child of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and was the first child born to a reigning monarch for 103 years.
He joined the Royal Navy in 1979 on a short service commission as a seaman officer specializing as a pilot, but after flying on anti-submarine warfare missions, anti-surface warfare missions, helping in casualty evacuation, transport and search and rescue missions, was promoted to commander and a long list of other military achievements. He left the Royal Navy at the end of July 2001.
He married Sarah Ferguson in Westminster Abbey in July of 1986, making Prince Andrew The Duke of York and Ferguson The Duchess of York. The duke and duchess divorced in May of 1996 and continue to have joint custody of their two children. They live at Sunninghill Park in Windsor.
The dedication at the plaza will take place at 2:45 p.m., according to Samuel Davis, vice president of The Friends of George C. Marshall.
Davis adds that a pre-dedication ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. and will feature World War II reenactors and the Veterans of Foreign Wars band.
At noon, Prince Andrew will attend a fund-raising luncheon for The Friends of George C. Marshall and will meet young Marshall alumni from the University of Pittsburgh as well as young Marshall candidates from the universities and colleges in the 10-county greater Pittsburgh area.
While Davis doesn't know if Prince Andrew will stay in the country or head back to England after the dedication, the day before he is scheduled to arrive in Uniontown, he'll be in Pittsburgh, attending the British-American Business Council's annual Transatlantic Business Conference Dinner with Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy and Gov. Ed Rendell.
Davis says the prince's visit is a "historical occasion," honoring Pennsylvania's finest citizen who could have become president of the United States and was the most important individual of the war efforts.
"This is an important occasion for Fayette County," Davis says. "I hope everyone attends."