CMA CGM event a crowning achievement
May 25, 2005 10:10 AM, from staff and wire reports
CMA CGM, the fifth largest shipping company in the world and number one in France, is celebrating the inauguration of its North American headquarters in Norfolk VA with the donation of a mermaid with a mace topped with the British Crown. A mace is a ceremonial staff that symbolizes the authority of a legislative body.
But this no ordinary mace. The British crown adorns the top of the silver Norfolk Mace with the British Royal Arms as borne by King George II. On a disk beneath it and around its head are the arms of Great Britain and emblems of the lands traditionally claimed by the British monarchs. The Norfolk Mace was presented in 1754 to Robert Dinwiddie, acting royal governor of Virginia.
Dinwiddie's efforts to enforce Great Britain's claim to the Ohio Valley ultimately led to American independence, for he began the French and Indian War and gave a young Virginian named George Washington his first military officer's commission.
France avenged its loss of Canada to the British by aiding the Americans in their Revolutionary War for independence. The Norfolk Mace, hidden during that war from the British, was carried in a parade that celebrated the Fourth of July and Virginia's ratification of the new federal constitution.
CMA CGM is donating the Norfolk Mace Mermaid in honor of its new North American headquarters. The mermaid will be outside Norfolk's Chrysler Museum, home to the original mace. She is 10 feet long, painted silver, and the scales on her tail are formed by copies of tickets to the different performing arts in Norfolk. She joins the other 400 Mermaids On Parade in the city, part of its campaign to fund 48 local charitable and arts organizations.
The new four-story, 90,000-square-foot CMA CGM headquarters on seven acres accommodates 450 employees.
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