Year of Kosciuszko
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As per the Embassy of the Republic of Poland on the 200thAnniversary of the Death of Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1746-1817): Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish and American general, participated in the American Revolutionary War, Supreme Commander of the Polish National Armed Forces during the Kosciuszko Uprising (against Russia in 1794), died in Solothurn, Switzerland on 15 October 1817. To mark this anniversary, the Sejm of the Republic of Poland proclaimed 2017 as The Year of Kosciuszko
PHOTO: KOSCIUSZKO IN WASHINGTON, D.C. Illustrated is the magnificent General Thaddeus Kosciuszko Monument in Lafayette Square across from the White House. It commemorates the revolutionary battles for freedom that Kosciuszko engaged in both for Poland and the United States.
During this year many Kosciuszko-dedicated events were held across America in cities large and small. Here, on October 15, 2017 – as the celebratory year draws to a close – it was the Embassy of the Republic of Poland’s distinct honor to conduct a grand commemoration at the Kosciuszko Monument in Lafayette Square across from the White House. The main celebrants were Poland’s Ambassador Piotr Wilczek, Lithuanian Ambassador Rolandas Krisciunas and Francis ‘Frank’ Spula, President of the Polish National Alliance. Inscribed on the pedestal of the monument are the words “ERECTED BY THE POLISH NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF AMERICA AND PRESENTED TO THE UNITED STATES ON BEHALF OF THE POLISH AMERICAN CITIZENS MAY 11, 1910.” Also notably in attendance was cadets comprising the Kosciuszko Squadron from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
General Kosciuszko served seven years in General George Washington’s Continental Army. As an engineer, his plans were instrumental in the key American victory at the Battle of Saratoga (1777). In recognition of his engineering skills Kosciuszko was entrusted with construction of the key fortress at West Point. He also authored the U.S. Army’s first artillery manual.
The three aforementioned main celebrants all waxed eloquently about Kosciuszko’s love – and selfless pursuit – of liberty, both in Poland and America.
West Point’s Kosciuszko Squadron. Pictured are members of the Kosciuszko Squadron from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. They are posing with Poland’s Ambassador Piotr Wilczek at the base of the Kosciuszko Monument at the conclusion of the ceremonies.
George Washington wrote to Kosciuszko that “No one has a higher respect and veneration for your character than I have.” Kosciuszko was described by his close friend Thomas Jefferson as “Pure a son of liberty as I have ever known, and of that liberty which is to go to all, and not to the few or rich alone.” Kosciuszko was a strong proponent of universal liberty and human rights, who deeded his wartime pay to purchase freedom for American slaves.
During the proceedings the U.S. Army Brass Quintet provided musical interludes in addition to the playing of the Polish and American national anthems after the Presentation of the Colors by U.S. Army soldiers in colonial uniforms.
The 200th observance concluded with the laying of wreaths at the monument and an army bugle playing Taps, in fitting tribute to the freedom-fighting hero on two continents … Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kosciuszko.
By Richard P. Poremski
Polish American Journal
Washington DC Bureau
October 31, 2017
(photo and text)