By Roz Hamlett, Portfolio Editor
Recently, the Port Authority’s Glenn Guzi received an honorary knighthood by the Order of the British Empire. Such honors do not occur every day, so Portfolio decided to ask Guzi a few questions to get a better handle on what this means. For example, will he receive lands, a castle, a sword and a footman named Mosley to boss around?
Q – First, lots of people were faithful Downton Abbey fans, so why you? Have you actually met members of the royal family?
A – I have met and I’ve shared time with members of the extended royal family, both on a personal basis and within my role at the Port Authority that spans more than 25 years. I feel incredibly honored to receive this distinction. It is something one does not apply for, and I was never expecting this at all.
Q – From a practical standpoint, how will this honor change you? Will you get a Jaguar? Will you wear a sword and scabbard to work?
A – I seriously doubt that I will change the person that I am. Does a leopard really change its spots? Yes, I will have afternoon tea when the craving hits. I have always enjoyed a good cup of Earl Grey. In today’s day and age of “If you see something, say something,” carrying a sword to work, especially on public transportation (since I’m not getting a Jaguar), is probably not the best idea. So instead, I will continue to carry a pen to work. After all, the pen is mightier than the sword. Thankfully, I will not receive a castle. I could never afford to maintain one. And they’re probably hard to heat in the winter and cool in the summer.
Q – Does the Queen or a member of the royal family touch your shoulders with a sword and dub you Sir Glenn?
A – I have touched and been touched by members of the entire extended British royal family. The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (as it’s officially called) is an exclusive order of chivalry that was founded by King George V in 1917 and whose motto is, “For God and the Empire.” A Conference of an Order of the British Empire is done by Her Majesty the Queen, with advice from the Prime Minister/Foreign Office when it comes to naming foreign non-British nominees.
Q – After your investiture, do you get to use an honorific before your name?
A – As a non-British recipient, I will not use a title preceding my name. However, I am allowed to use “MBE” post nominal. These letters indicate Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. For non-British recipients, the investiture will take place in Washington, D.C. officially by the British Ambassador to the United States. An investiture is carried out by the Queen or a senior member of the royal family at her discretion.
Q – Must you now recreate various aspects of medieval society like man-to-man combat or engage in jousting tournaments?
A – I have never been overly good at sports so I am happy to say that I am not required to engage in man-to-man combat. But polo might be worth looking into.
Q – Must you become a British citizen? How will your behavior change to befit a knight of the realm?
A – There is no expectation or requirement regarding becoming a British citizen. I was born American and I would never change that for anything. Regardless of what we see as our political/governmental craziness, we are blessed to be American citizens. Believe it or not, one can be stripped of their award for illegal behavior. I was raised well and taught what is important in life and how to behave and treat others. I feel confident that I will be able to continue to maintain a life of principles and respect for all people.