CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today honored Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski on the annual holiday held in his memory. With Pulaski’s struggle for freedom and Illinois’ Eastern European community in mind, Governor Quinn also urged peaceful resolution to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
“Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski gave his life in the cause of freedom 235 years ago and is revered not only by Polish-Americans but by freedom-loving people everywhere,” Governor Quinn said. “In tumultuous times like these, it’s important to look toward heroes like Casimir Pulaski to remind us of the importance of freedom.”
Governor Quinn joined Illinois Polonia leaders in saluting Pulaski, the “Father of the American Cavalry,” whose bold cavalry charges are credited with countering enemy advances to Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. When Pulaski was struck by artillery grapeshot during battle in 1779, enemy gunners held their fire so he could be removed from the field of battle. Pulaski never regained consciousness and died two days later at the age of 32.
Governor Quinn noted that Pulaski is remembered today in many ways. There are eight states with a Pulaski County (including Illinois), one of Chicago’s longest streets is Pulaski Road and the Pulaski International School is in Chicago’s northwest side. The U.S. Navy has named two different ships the USS Casimir Pulaski, a Civil War steamship and a Cold War submarine.
Illinois enjoys a robust trade relationship with Poland, ranking 5th among U.S. states in exports to Poland. With more than a million Polish-Americans living in Illinois, Polish is our state’s third-most spoken language. In 2007, Governor Quinn visited Poland where he strengthened relations by signing a “Sister Rivers Partnership” linking the Illinois River with the Vistula River, Poland’s longest waterway.