Hooray! Let’s celebrate! Today is Polish Independence Day. Today people all over Poland (and in other parts of the world, such as at my house) celebrate the establishment of the second Polish Republic in 1918, following World War I, and after 123 years of partition between Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. November 11, 1918 is the day on which Marsall Józef Piłsudski was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Polish forces. Several days later he was also given complete civil control.
Of course, those acts alone did not ensure Poland’s survival–they had to fight the Bolsheviks (and others) who had other ideas. But over the course of time, Piłsudski and the armed forces prevailed and Poland was again an independent nation.
Poland only celebrated November 11 as a holida a few times before World War II came. At the start of World War II, Poland valiantly defended herself from the Germans and first, and then the Russians, while her sworn allies such as Britain and France stood by and watched, cowering and afraid. And at the end of World War II, Poland was again left alone and given to the Communists as spoils of war, again abandoned by here allies, the US, France, Britain….. But throughout the last thousand years of modern history, Poles have shown their strong desire for being a free nation. Time and time again she tried to shed the shackles of Communism. Finally, in the 1980, assisted by the inspiration and guidance of a Polish Pope, supported for once by the United States and President Reagan’s call to the Communists to “tear down this wall,” Poland again emerged as a free nation.
Under the communists, November 11 was not celebrated at all, but now, since 1989, the new Poland celebrates Independence Day every November 11th. And so do I.
I was not born in Poland. But yet I grew up “Polish.” And American. I am truly Polish-American. And so I too celebrate this day. It was the fulfillment of a dream for me to visit Poland this past year. And only the beginning. Often I find my mind, my thoughts, and my heart going back there. I know I’ll be back, it is a great country. And now having thrown off the shackles of Communism, is again showing itself to be a great country. I predict that in time it will one of if not the greatest country in Europe.
So, join with me today and celebrate Polish Independence Day!