CHICAGO – May 1, 2009. Joining with members of the Polish community, Governor Pat Quinn celebrated Polish Constitution Day, which commemorates the 218th anniversary of the Polish Constitution. Adopted on May 3, 1791, the Polish Constitution is the world’s second written constitution.
“Polish Constitution Day marks a day in history when the government of Poland agreed on paper to serve the rights and will of the people,” said Governor Quinn. “I am honored to be here today with so many of our community members to celebrate this historic day.”
Governor Quinn joined Mr. Rafal Baniak, the Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Economy of Poland; Mr. Zygmunt Matynia, Consul General of Poland in Chicago; Frank Spula, President of the Polish National Alliance; Major General William L. Enyart, Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard and other Illinois servicemembers and members of the Polish delegation for the celebration.
Governor Quinn has hosted a celebration for Polish Constitution Day in the Thompson Center for many years. About one million Polish Americans live in Chicago, the second largest gathering of people of Polish heritage outside of Warsaw.
In 1788, the Polish Parliament began its deliberations to create a government that would defend and honor the rights of its people. The Constitution was then approved by King Stanislaw August Poniatowski on May 3, 1791. Although the Polish constitution did not last due to occupations by Russia, Austria and Prussia, the Polish Constitution of 1791 is commemorated today because it represents justice and freedom.
The State of Illinois shares a longstanding partnership with the Republic of Poland under the auspices of the State Partnership Program. For example, the military forces of the Illinois National Guard and Poland have cooperated in numerous training events, exchange programs, and training exercises.
Polish Constitution Day festivities will continue on May 2, 2009 with a parade at 11:30 A.M. on Columbus Drive, followed by a festival at Navy Pier. For more information on Polish Constitution Day events, please visit Polandonthepier.com.