Happy Casimir Pulaski Day, Chicago!!! Dzień Dobry

Kazimierz Michał Władysław Wiktor Pułaski of the Ślepowron coat of arms (Polish pronunciation: [kaˈʑimjɛʐ puˈwaskʲi] (listen); Casimir Pulaski /ˈkæ.zɪ.ˌmɪər pəˈlæ.skiː/; March 4 or March 6, 1745[1] – October 11, 1779) was a Polish nobleman,[b] soldier, and military commander who has been called the "father of the American cavalry."

Born in Warsaw and following in his father's footsteps, he became interested in politics at an early age. He soon became involved in the military and in revolutionary affairs in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Pulaski was one of the leading military commanders for the Bar Confederation and fought against the Commonwealth's foreign domination. When this uprising failed, he was driven into exile. Following a recommendation by Benjamin Franklin, Pulaski traveled to North America to help in the American Revolutionary War. He distinguished himself throughout the revolution, most notably when he saved the life of George Washington. Pulaski became a general in the Continental Army, and he and his friend, Michael Kovats, created the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reformed the American cavalry as a whole. At the Battle of Savannah, while leading a cavalry charge against British forces, he was fatally wounded by grapeshot and died shortly after.

Pulaski is remembered as a hero who fought for independence and freedom in Poland and the United States. Numerous places and events are named in his honor, and he is commemorated by many works of art. Pulaski is one of only eight people to be awarded honorary United States citizenship.
we should always remember those that try to divide us and marginalize the workers voice and power though polarization and race politics. This is the definition of oppression ... Solidarność

Who was Pulaski, and why did Illinois declare a public holiday for him more than two centuries after his death?

Here are 9 things to know:

Who was Casimir Pulaski and why does he have his own holiday? 9 things to know about a Poland-born American hero

By Chicago Tribune staf

Mar 04, 2019 at 1:30 pm

Casimir Pulaski was a Polish-born hero in the American Revolutionary War.

Casimir Pulaski was a Polish-born general who fought for the United States during the American Revolution. The first Monday of March, which sometimes falls on Pulaski’s March 6 birthday, has been an Illinois state holiday since 1986. He’s also memorialized with an 18-mile-long street, Pulaski Road, that cuts through all of Chicago from north to south.

Who was Pulaski, and why did Illinois declare a public holiday for him more than two centuries after his death? Here are nine things to know about Casimir Pulaski.

1. He’s known as the father of the American cavalry

Pulaski met Benjamin Franklin in Paris in 1776, where the Polish military veteran offered his services to the American Revolution. He fought at the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania in September 1777, where he led an attack against the British that helped save the retreating American Army.

After Brandywine, George Washington made him a general and appointed him as the first leader of the U.S. cavalry. He led the Pulaski Legion, a brigade of German Hessians, French and Poles that prevented Charleston, S.C., from being overtaken by the British in 1779. That battle helped turn the tide in the Americans’ favor in the South.

Offering his services to the American Revolution, Pulaski famously wrote Washington: “I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.”

Pulaski arrived in the U.S. in July 1777 and died Oct. 11, 1779, after the Siege of Savannah. He was shot during a cavalry charge during that battle. He was most likely 34 years old.

3. He was forced to flee Poland after a failed attempt to fight Russia

Before he came to the United States, Pulaski was a military leader in his native Poland. He was born March 6, 1745, in Warka (though some sources say 1747). Pulaski became a general who tried to “liberate his country from Russian invaders,” according to George Otto of the Polish American Congress.

When the Polish military was overwhelmed by Russia during regular battles, he and his fellow cavalry members turned instead to guerrilla raids on horseback. Eventually he realized that the raids “were not going any place against superior forces” and fled to France.

A Smithsonian Channel documentary that premiered in April 2019 makes the case that Pulaski may have been intersex, or with a body that doesn’t fit neatly into standard definitions of male and female. In “The General Was Female?” scientists use skeletal remains and DNA testing to make a case that a skeleton with female features was Pulaski’s. The debate over the skeleton is really his has been raging since as far back as 1854, when his remains were moved to a monument in Savannah, Ga.

5. Pulaski Day was first celebrated in 1986

The holiday took Illinois “by surprise” at first, according to a Tribune story from 1986. Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson signed the bill creating the state holiday on Sunday, March 2, the day before it was first celebrated.

Chicago-area lawmakers had been trying to pass the bill for some time but always ran into opposition downstate, “where they’ve never heard of Pulaski,” Lucyna Migala, a native Pole and a radio station operator, told the Tribune at the time. Migala’s brother, George, said city workers who got the day off asked him who Pulaski was.

6. Lawmakers have been trying to kill it since day one

But as soon as Pulaski Day became law in Illinois, efforts to repeal it began. The same day it was first celebrated, state Rep. John Countryman, of DeKalb, told the Tribune he was pushing to repeal the law in the Illinois General Assembly. Countryman said Pulaski’s birthday should be honored in a commemorative way, like St. Patrick’s Day, not with a legal holiday.

While the holiday originally required a day off for all school districts in Illinois, state legislators passed a bill in 1995 that allowed school districts to skip the holiday.

Some lawmakers continued to push for Pulaski Day — and Columbus Day — to be abolished as state holidays. However, it never succeeded, and advocates for Pulaski Day credited the movement with increasing awareness of the general.

“Controversy attracts attention. People who probably never heard of Pulaski before are becoming interested,” Edward Dykel, president of the Roman Catholic Union of America, told the Tribune in 1995. “They have heard so much about him on TV and the radio that they are asking, ‘Who is this guy?’”

7. Pulaski Road has been around longer but was still controversial

It was originally called Crawford Avenue, after Peter Crawford, a Scotland-born pioneer who helped organize the township of Cicero. The road was named for Crawford in 1883; the Chicago City Council voted to change the name for Pulaski 50 years later, in 1933, and it officially changed in 1934.

Merchants along the street protested, fearing their businesses would suffer as a result of the change, according to a Tribune article from 1985 recapping the 50-year-old drama. A spokesman for the City Club, Lester H. Forbes, said the change would do a “grievous wrong to the thousands of Crawford Avenue residents and (would) completely fail in its object of honoring Count Pulaski.”

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But Cook County Judge John Prystalski accused those opposing the change with bigotry, asserting that “some might object to living on a street (with a name) ending with ski. We might as well be frank. People with those names are just as good as anyone else. We are living in an age of change.”

The merchants sued after the change, making it to the Illinois Supreme Court twice (and losing both times).

The Crawford Avenue name lives on in the near north and south suburbs.

8. It’s not the only Pulaski Day

Wisconsin schools celebrate Pulaski Day every year on March 4, but kids still have to go to class if it falls on a weekday. Instead it’s known as a public school observance day, where teachers are asked to teach children about “elements of tradition that preserve U.S. society and foster an awareness of our cultural heritage.”

There’s also a federal day — Gen. Pulaski Memorial Day — celebrated Oct. 11 to commemorate Pulaski’s death. It was approved by Congress in 1929.

9. He’s been an honorary U.S. citizen since 2009

Congress passed a bill in 2009 making Pulaski an honorary citizen of the United States that was later signed by President Barack Obama. The bill originally was introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

At the time, Pulaski was only the seventh foreigner given the distinction. He joined William Penn, a founder of the Pennsylvania colony, and his wife, Hannah; Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchman who supported the American Revolution; British Prime Minister Winston Churchill; Swedish humanitarian Raoul Wallenberg, who rescued Jews during the Holocaust; and Mother Teresa.


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