Emanuel, Quinn and many other officials honor Casimir Pulaski in Polish Museum of America


Janice Schakowsky, Patrick Quinn, Joseph Drobot (BkRow), and Maria Ciesla at beginning of event


Jan Lorys explains history of Pulaski painting and the building with Most Rev. Andrew Wypych in background

Chicago's  Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois' Governor Patrick Quinn were part of the Pulaski Day Celebrations at the Polish Museum of America (PMA), 984 N. Milwaukee Ave. on Mar. 4. Sharing the day with Chicago's 176th birthday," the celebration included so many officials and representatives of offices and organizations that one speaker questioned whether there was anyone running the State, County or City offices.


Mayor Emanuel

The ceremonies began with Jan Lorys, PMA Director, delivering the history of the giant Casimir Pulaski picture and the historic building in English then in Polish.

Masters of Ceremonies for the morning, Joseph Drobot, Jr., PMA Chair, and Maria Ciesla, PMA President, each said a few words of welcome followed by the Invocation given by Most Rev. Andrew Wypych, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Chicago. 


Sheila Simon

Following the playing of the National Anthems, Mayor Emanuel led the long list of presenters. He emphasized the importance of Poles in the history of Chicago saying, "Polish roots and Chicago roots are intertwined as one."

He also emphasized the importance of immigrants in the development and growth of Chicago and his support of Poland being part of the Visa Waiver Program. The audience expressed appreciation of his comments by singing "Sto Lat" which is a Polish birthday song, in honor of Chicago's birthday. 


Dan Rutherford

Janice Schakowsky, U.S. 9th District Representative, said that Pulaski sacrificed his life for the idea of creating a new democracy. "As we honor him, we honor our men and women in uniform who are in harms way now." She pointed out that the lesson of Casimir Pulaski Day is the importance of international  cooperation, the U.S. and Poland's friendship and immigration reform. Schakowsky ended by stating her continued support of Poland being part of the Visa Waiver Program. 


Aerial Reboyras

Drobot reminded everyone that Casimir Pulaski was one of only 7 people given honorary U.S. citizenship. Yet, if he were alive today, Pulaski would still have to apply for a visa. Like most people who spoke, Drobot emphasized the importance of adding Poland to the waiver program. 

Quinn said, "We are all here today because we have a belief in freedom and democracy. I think that we owe Casimir Pulaski and all Polish people, who believe in freedom, a great debt of gratitude. At this very moment in Afghanastan, we have Illinois soldiers fighting side by side with the Polish military." 


Maria Chudzinski one of 4 World War II soldiers honored

Emphasizing the importance in communication and relationships on all levels of life including country to country and state to state, Sheila Simon, Illinois' Lieutenant Governor, told a true story of a colleague of hers from law school. He is a Peruvian who she described as "a brilliant guy but not very functional in other capacities. He was traveling in Poland and had a flat tire. So he stood on the road side. When another driver stopped to help, he had trouble communicating. So he called a Polish friend in Chicago." 


The three other veterans honored

In addition to remarks by representatives of Mark Kirk and Lisa Madigan, those who spoke included: Paulina Kapuscinska, Consul General, Republic of Poland in Chicago; Dan Rutherford, Illinois Treasurer; Judy Baar Topinka, Illinois Comptroller; Maria Pappas, Cook County Treasurer; Mona Noriega, Chicago Human Relations Commissioner; and Ariel Reboyras, 30th Ward Alderman, who spoke in Polish. 

Presentations included the Polish Veterans of World War II and scholarship awards sponsored by Jewel-Osco and PNC Bank. The program ended with the Laying of the wreath.


Counsel General Paulina Kapuscinska; Frank Spula, Pres. Polish American Congress and Polish National Allianance, N.A.; and Joseph Drobot



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