Polish Constitution Day
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 226th Anniversary of Poland’s historic and revolutionary May 3rd Constitution of 1791 – Konstyucja Trzeciego Maja – was celebrated here in grand style on May 3, 2017 under the auspices of Ambassador Piotr Wilczek. Among the hundreds of invited guests were Deputy Marshal of the Polish Senate Adam Bielan, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, members of the U.S. Administration and Military Services, the Washington Diplomatic Corps, NGO’s, many luminaries, friends of Poland and the American Polonia.
In photo: Ambassador Piotr Wilczek
Ambassador Wilczek welcomed the guests and described the historical context that gave rise to Europe’s first constitution – a revolutionary one that championed the avant-garde concept of freedom and democracy for the common man. The Ambassador recalled that within 2 years Poland was wiped off the map of Europe for 123 years (until 1918). “Although the Constitution did not prevent the final partition of Poland, it inspired Polish patriots to pass on to future generations the most precious values of old Poland: belief in democracy, religious tolerance and solidarity,” noted Wilczek.
Ambassador Wilczek continued that “Poland’s situation today is very different from the situation our country found itself in at the end of the 18th century. Over half my life was spent living behind the Iron Curtain, and never in my wildest imagination did I dream that there would come a time when American soldiers, our friends and allies, would be in Poland, training side-by-side with Polish soldiers. Today Poland is not alone. Today Poland is part of the effective NATO alliance. Today Poland has a friend and in the United States, the most powerful country in the world,” stressed Wilczek with pride and conviction.
Various Awards Bestowed. Pictured In the spacious garden of the Ambassador’s Residence are dignitaries and awardees at the Constitution Day celebration. From the left: Secretary of State for International Dialogue Senator Anna Marie Anders, Malta’s Ambassador to the U.S. Pierre Agius – “Commanders Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland,” Michael Hammond – “Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland,” Ambassador Piotr Wilczek, Professor David A. Lipton – “Amicus Poloniae Award,” and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.
Secretary of State/Senator Anna Marie Anders spoke that she was very pleased to celebrate May 3rd here in the U.S. She said she was very proud of her Polish, British and American citizenships and connected heritages, especially as the daughter of Poland’s General Wladyslaw Anders, a national World War II hero.
Also mentioned was her late husband, an officer in the U.S. Army, in which her officer son now serves. “I look forward to very close cooperation between Poland and the U.S,” Anders stated in regards to her present government role.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt communicated that “NATO and our partnership are absolute in support of Poland,” and spoke of Poland using glowing terms in many different respects. “The Polish people never gave up in World War II. Their freedom was taken from them but they always insisted on taking their freedom back. Since 1791 to today Poland has been willing to fight for its freedom.” Raising his glass, Blunt proposed a toast to the guests: “To Poland for the freedom it has earned.”
U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Co-Chair of the Congressional Polish Caucus, stated that she will continue to work in Congress “to guarantee that the freedom gene that exists in the hearts of Poles and Polish Americans will continue to exist. And thank you for the Constitution being celebrated here tonight that promotes freedom for all.”
All-in-all, it was a grand celebration and remembrance of the 1791 Constitution and the relevance and importance it still carries after 226 years and still counting.
Photo: BG Cezary Wisniewski with Ojczyzna Dancers Agniewska Krajewska, Helen Syski, Gosia Bondyra and Chris Lubas.
Richard P. Poremski
Polish American Journal
Washington, DC Bureau