CHICAGO – 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.
“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.