Poland’s President Duda
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Poland’s President Andrzej Duda concluded his days-long hectic official visit to the United States here on September 18, 2018 at the spacious residence of Ambassador Piotr Wilczek. It was time to relax after just meeting with President Donald Trump in the White House, and then afterwards with leading members of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill. The occasion was a “Special Concert Celebrating the Centennial of Poland’s Regained Independence” performed by pianist Thomas Pandolfi. Approximately 150 guests were in attendance; especially present was a large cross-section of the American Polonia. (Photo: President of Poland Andrzej Duda)
After being introduced by Ambassador Piotr Wilczek, President Duda spoke for over 30 minutes – first in excellent English and then more officially in translated Polish – on a variety of subjects. They included recalling Poland’s long 128 year’s struggles to regain its independence in 1918 due mainly to the insistence of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Point Thirteen of his famous Fourteen Points manifesto that he delivered during the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I. When in 1989 Poland bravely threw off its 1945 Russian/communist imposed shackles, Duda largely credited American support led by President Ronald Regan and that of Pope John Paul II. The thus-emboldened Solidarity movement triggered a wave of freedom that spread across Eastern Europe.
Also, President Duda proudly mentioned the very long history and mutual continuance of the strong relationship between Poland and the U.S. in many areas, beginning with America’s Revolutionary War onward to the present time. “Poland was the first to fight in World War II from the first to the last day – and during the last days (2 years) of WW II we were together.” He expanded upon the close military cooperation with the U.S. and NATO – including operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, establishment of U.S. forces in Poland, and Poland’s very significant military contributions to the security of Eastern and Central Europe. Large scale mutual economics and bi-lateral trade were addressed too, especially mentioned was the recently established importation of American liquefied natural gas that makes Poland’s and Europe’s energy supply more secure.
President Duda spoke familial volumes about – and heaped much praise upon – the American Polonia, with his heartfelt remarks resounding knowingly among the quests. He remarked that “Over the past few trying decades, the support of the Polish-American community for Poland was invaluable. All over the world there is 15 million Poles, and 10 million are in the U.S. Thanks to Polonia’s role here the idea of Poland’s independence was nurtured, including championing Poland’s entry into NATO. The achievements of Polish America are a pride to both our nations. Polish community organizations are functioning to make worthy contributions to the U.S., and it has produced a number of wonderful and talented leaders to serve the American society. We are proud of the achievements of the Polonia in the U.S., and for passing on the Polish language and history – we are grateful to you for that.”
Lastly, Duda spoke that “I would like to convey to you from the people of Poland a huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your Polishness and our shared Polish identity. God Bless Poland! – and God Bless America!”
After the piano concert of Chopin music and the grand buffet dinner, the president circulated among the guests in a very affable and approachable manner. He spoke both to individuals and groups of guests, with many accompanying photo opportunities – and ubiquitous selfies – eagerly taken. President Andrzej Duda left a strong and admirable lasting impression among the guests in the true spirit of Polish–American solidarity and friendship before he departed for Warsaw.
Richard P. Poremski
Polish American Journal
Washington, DC Bureau
October 15, 2018