Radzilowski Addresses Polish Community of Cleveland
HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski, President of the Piast Institute, was the keynote speaker at the Polish Constitution Day Celebration held on the grounds of the Cleveland Museum of Art. The focus of the celebration was the rededication of the refurbished statue of Thaddeus Kosciuszko presented in 1905 to the City of Cleveland and the Museum by the local Polish community.
The crowd of over 250 heard Dr. Radzilowski outline the history of Kosciuszko’s reputation as an American, Polish, and international Revolutionary hero. The original presentation of the statue in 1905 came at a time when there was a growing conviction that Polish independence could soon to be a possibility. The Poles of Cleveland wanted to show that they were committed to the same ideals as their fellow Americans and that a new Poland would mean the rebirth of democracy in East Central Europe. They wanted to emphasize that since Kosciuszko was present at the creation of the American Republic, Polish values were part of the mix that created the spirit and founding ideals of America.
Now, in 2013, as the Statue is rededicated, Kosciuszko, he said, speaks to us again of the value of human rights in our own time. Given what we now know of his principled opposition to serfdom, slavery and inequality, and his impact on those who struggled for democracy all over the world, he has emerged for all of us as a new symbol of the universal battle for human dignity and democracy. He is also now, as he was in 1905, a symbol of the loyalty of Polish Americans to these ideals, and to what is best in the Polish and American heritages of which they are so proud.
The ceremonies also included a recitation of Polish poetry and a performance of Folk dances, and addresses by the leadership of the city and the Polish community. It concluded with the unveiling of the refurbished statue the strains of the Heynal, the Polish historic trumpet.
– Piast Institute.