My grandparents left Poland for their honeymoon to America and never returned. My father was the youngest of seven children all first generation Americans.
My grandparents located in Chicago, the Polish district, before purchasing property in North Chicago, Illinois and building a home. While growing up I was surrounded by Polish culture, in a two block area, in my neighborhood, was the Polish Catholic church, school, funeral home, bakery, liquor/candy store, dry goods store, hardware, bowling alley, shoe repair, my grandfather's rug business, and a small grocery store all of these businesses were owned by people of polish descent.
So today, I celebrate Casimir (Kazimierz) Pulaski Day. Casimir (Kazimierz) Pulaski Day is an annual holiday in Illinois, that is celebrated on the first Monday of March. It celebrates the birthday of Casimir (Kazimierz) Pulaski, a Polish born soldier who is remembered for his contributions to American independence.
He was born in Warka, Poland, on March 1747/8. His father was a founding member of the Confederation of Bar that fought Russia which controlled Poland at the time. After his father's death, Casimir (Kazimierz) took over military command, which earned him, an impressive reputation. He was forced to leave Poland after being accused of plotting to assassinate the kind of Poland.
Exiled from Poland, he travelled to France, where he met Benjamin Franklin and learned about the American Revolutionary War. Later Franklin introduced Pulaski to George Washington.
Casimir (Kazimierz) Pulaski headed to America to help in the war, he was involved in several battles, and it is believed that he saved George Washington's life in the 1777 battle of Brandywine by uncovering a sneak attack by the British. He was promoted to brigadier general because of his brave action in the battle of Brandywine. He was in charge of the first cavalry, giving him the nickname "Father of the American Cavalry."
Pulaski said, "I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it." Casimir (Kazimierz) Pulaski was killed by cannon fire while riding on a horse in battle at Savannah, Georgia, 1779.
On January 16, 1931, the United State Post Office released a
2¢ commemorative stamp honoring Casimir (Kazimierz) Pulaski.
In 2009, Pulaski became the seventh person to posthumously receive honorary American citizenship.
Today I celebrate my Polish heritage by remembering Casimir (Kazimierz) Pulaski, and how he fought in the Revolutionary War for our rights and freedom.