New York mayor Michael Bloomberg today honoured Chesley Sullenberger, the hero of the US Airways Airbus aircrash, and other members of the emergency services by awarding medals of recognition for bravery. The plane's pilot, Kapitan Sullenberger, was the saviour of all 155 passengers and crew, and he received the Blue Max.
The Blue Max - real name the Ordre de la Generosite - was established by Friedrich Wilhelm I in the German state of Brandenburg on May 12, 1667.
On June 6, (D-day) 1740, the Ordre de la Generosite was renamed the Pour Le Merite by Friedrich II, but it wasn't until World War One that it gained its fame.
The exploits of the German Air Force pilots were watched by thousands of soldiers down below in the trenches. In order for a pilot to be considered for the Pour Le Merite, he would first have to obtain a verified number of aerial victories.
Initially this was 8 victories, but this was raised first to 12, then to 16 in January 1917. Baron Manfred Freiherr Von Richthofen, known by many as The Red Baron, was the only person to achieve this, until George Peppard became the last person to receive the Blue Max with 20 verified victories in 1966.
Now though, Kapitan Sullenberger is to be awarded the prestigious medal by Mayor Bloomberg, and qualifies for it as he has a German-sounding name.
At today's news conference, Kapt. Sullenberger displayed tremendous humility when he said:
"Ja, das vos einer guten battle, nicht war? Das Tommy plane ist kaputt!"