Illinois Governor Pat Quinn honored Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski today by laying a wreath at a mural honoring General Pulaski at the Polish Museum of America. Today marks the 266th anniversary of the Polish-born General’s birth.
According to the Polish-American Center, Casimir Pulaski, son of Count Joseph Pulaski, was born in Warsaw, Poland, on March 4, 1745. At the age of fifteen, he joined his father and other members of the Polish nobility in opposing the Russian and Prussian interference in Polish affairs. Outlawed by Russia for his actions on behalf of Polish liberty, he traveled to Paris where he met Benjamin Franklin, who induced him to support the colonies against England in the American Revolution. Pulaski, impressed with the ideals of a new nation struggling to be free, volunteered his services. Franklin wrote to George Washington describing the young Pole as "an officer renowned throughout Europe for the courage and bravery he displayed in defense of his country's freedom."
In 1777, Pulaski arrived in Philadelphia where he met General Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Later, at Brandywine, he came to the aid of Washington's forces and distinguished himself as a brilliant military tactician. For his efforts, Congress appointed him Brigadier-General in charge of Four Horse Brigades. Then again, at the Battle of Germantown, Pulaski's knowledge of warfare assisted General Washington and his men in securing victory for American forces.
Later in 1778, through Washington's intervention, Congress approved the establishment of the Cavalry and put Pulaski at its head. Pulaski, who became known as the "Father of the American Cavalry."
“Brigadier General Pulaski once wrote that he was willing ‘to hazard all for the freedom of America,’ a sentiment he bravely displayed on countless battlefields during our war for independence,” Governor Quinn said. “The unselfish spirit of this Freedom Fighter has inspired generations of Americans, from warriors on faraway front-lines to families in Polonia neighborhoods across Chicago willing to ‘hazard all’ for freedom.”
The governor was joined by Polonia leaders who saluted Pulaski at a ceremony in front of a mural depicting Pulaski in the 1779 Battle of Savannah, where he was mortally wounded at the age of 32. Pulaski - a volunteer who survived the icy Valley Forge winter and bouts of malaria - was credited with saving American forces at Brandywine and breaking the British siege at Charleston. Pulaski became known as the “Father of the American Cavalry.”
Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski met with Governor Quinn during the NATO Conference in Chicago last May. Komorowski presented Quinn with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for his “distinguished contribution to international cooperation with Poland.” The Illinois National Guard State Partnership Program with Poland is among the oldest state partnerships in the nation. In 2007, Quinn visited Poland where he forged another pact with Poland by signing a “Sister Rivers Partnership” linking the Illinois River with the Vistula River, Poland’s longest waterway.
Illinois enjoys a robust trade relationship with Poland, ranking 5th among U.S. states in exports to Poland. More than a million Polish-Americans live in Illinois. Polish is the 3rd-most spoken language in Illinois, following English and Spanish.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns.