Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome you here tonight to commemorate the conferral of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, upon Mrs. LaVerl Daily.I am happy to see so many of Mrs. Daily’s close friends and relatives here this evening as we join together to celebrate this momentous occasion.
I would like to begin by briefly explaining the very prestigious award that Mrs. Daily has received.The Order of the Rising Sun was established by the Meiji emperor in 1875 and was the first such honor to be created by the Japanese government.There are six different categories of the Order, and it is presented to leaders and individuals from around the world who have made outstanding contributions in their respective fields.Mrs. Daily is one of just over 48 non-Japanese recipients—of whom just 9 were women—this year to have this high honor conferred upon her.Receiving some category of the Order this year along with Mrs. Daily are notables such as Michael Hayden Armacost, former US Ambassador to Japan and former Undersecretary of State, the former mayors of London and Montreal, and the former Secretary-General of the United Nations World Food Program.
Although most of you know Mrs. Daily well, I would like to take a few moments to introduce her and highlight just a few of her many accomplishments.
Mrs. Daily is a native Texan born and raised in Wichita Falls.She came to Houston after graduating from university, and married the distinguished Dr. Louis Daily, who is also here with us this evening.Mrs. Daily’s first introduction to Japan came in 1960, where she encountered the beauty of ikebana.She has worked tirelessly in teaching and demonstrating the art of ikebana since returning from that initial visit.At a time when Japan was still a relatively unfamiliar country in the West, it was leaders such as Mrs. Daily at the forefront who helped introduce its traditional culture and spark the imaginations of people throughout the world.
Mrs. Daily’s lifelong passion for ikebana has included more than four decades of involvement with the Houston chapter of Ikebana International—and five terms as the chapter’s president.Her expertise in ikebana has earned her recognition throughout the region, and has taken her across Texas and the southern United States.The beauty of Mrs. Daily’s work can be seen this evening, as she so graciously put together one of the very beautiful floral arrangements which adorn the residence this evening.
Mrs. Daily’s involvement with Japan has not been limited to the world of ikebana.She has been an active member of the Japan America Society of Houston for many years, through which she has helped coordinate the very popular Houston Japan Festival.Mrs. Daily’s beautiful ikebana has been put on display every year since the festival began in 1994, and she has served as chair of cultural arts exhibits.
Mrs. Daily has received a number of awards throughout for life for her service and dedication, including a commendation from Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2004.She was named Houston’s Woman of the Year in 1980, and this year Houston Mayor Bill White proclaimed Mrs. Daily’s birthday, September 10th, as “LaVerl Daily Day” in her honor.
I am sincerely grateful to Mrs. Daily and her lifelong devotion to ikebana and to the furthering of Japanese culture in the United States.I would like to conclude my remarks by expressing again my heartfelt congratulations to Mrs. Daily on this momentous occasion.Thank you very much.