Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., is typically not at a loss of words. But the dean of the House said being honored by the LUNGevity Foundation at its third annual Musical Celebration of Hope was one such occasion.
“I am humbled and I am rendered speechless,” he said.
Dingell even got some laughs poking fun at his age when he said that while the award, called the “Face of Hope,” was given to him, he might need a facelift before he could accept it.
Dingell got to Saturday night's event at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium early, and during the cocktail hour he sat at a table in the corner of the foyer with his son Christopher, a Michigan circuit court judge. The two talked between themselves, largely undisturbed, and the elder Dingell had the look of a seasoned professional who had spent a lifetime attending galas.
While Dingell spoke at little above a whisper then, two hours later his voice boomed into the microphone as he proclaimed the gala to be “a night of hope; a night we can all be proud.”
The black-tie affair featured live musical stylings from around the world and honored Dingell and the Dow Chemical Co. for their work in defeating lung cancer. LUNGevity is a national nonprofit dedicated to the eradication of the disease.
The night itself had a jovial, yet formal, air, almost like a senior prom.
The auditorium was like an outside-in version of the Acropolis with doric colonnades on the sides topped by triptychs and other remnants of classic Greek architecture. The columns were lit by purple lights at the base and from the ceiling golden light bathed the hall in a warm glow, giving the room a regal feel.
About 30 tables lit by candles were arranged geometrically around a dance floor in the middle of the hall. Near the close of the night, one brave party-goer stepped onto the hardwood and soon enough the platform was nearly full as the night drew to a close.