Today all over Poland–and many other countries–there is much celebrating as Poland celebrated their return to the map with the formation of the second Polish republic with the signing of the Armistice that ended the Great War (World War I) on November 11, 1918. After 123, the nation of Poland returned to the map, having been partitioned by greedy “neigbors” Austria, Russian, and Germany in the late 1700s. The opening words of the Polish National Anthem are a reminder, “Poland has not yet perished.”
But it’s also important to remember that Poland as a nation has existed for over 1000 years. At one time the largest and most powerful country of Europe, Poland has morphed and changed over time. Today once again, Poland is a powerhouse of sorts, a member of the EU, member of NATO, and the only european to not experience the recession of the last decade.
All of this is due to the intense nationalism and patriotism of Poles. Even though I was born in the USA–as were my parents–I am Polish to my very core. I’ve always known I’m Polish at heart and in my soul. My paternal grandparents and maternal great-grandparents all came to the USA at a time when Poland did not exist, yet they, too, were Polish and passed that national fervor onto me–and for that I am thankful.
So today, I celebrate with the nearly 40 million people of Poland, plus the 10’s of millions of Polonia dispersed across the world. Happy (re)Birthday, Poland. Sto lat, Polsko!