On Wednesday, November 10, that is, on the eve of the National Independence Day, at the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland located in a historic building on Lakeshore Blvd. in Chicago, official celebrations were held, combined with the presentation of decorations awarded by the President of Poland, and with artistic performances.
After the National Anthems of Poland and the United States were sung by 17-year-old Ms. Natalia Kawalec, a graduate of the Holy Trinity Polish School and James B Conant High School in Chicago, a talented singer, songwriter and performer on many instruments, the Consul of the Republic of Poland Małgorzata Bąk-Guzik took the podium.
After welcoming the gathered and distinguished guests, she recalled the history of the Independence Day, how the Polish National Independence Day is related to the American Veterans Day through traditions that date back to the times of Kościuszko and Pulaski — common heroes of Poland and the USA. The independence of Poland is a reason to celebrate historical achievements, but also, today, we must not forget that the eastern borders of Poland are under threat and under attack from the Belarusian-Russian side, pointed out the Madam Consul.
Second, Major General Richard R. Neely, an airman and the commander of the Illinois National Guard, took the floor, greeting everyone with a thunderous "good morning" in Polish. General Neely also referred to Kosciuszko and Pulaski in his speech, recalling the American-Polish brotherhood in arms, which continues today under the aegis of NATO. He respectfully spoke about how Poland, the American ally in NATO, is one of the very few countries that actually allocates about 2% of its GDP to defense, as all the member countries of this organization should do.
After General Neely's speech, the time has come for the presentation of state decorations. Among the honored were Dr. Marek Rudnicki, a surgeon from Chicago and a well-known Polish community activist, as well as Jacek Franczak, whom I am honored to include among my closest friends.
The artistic part was filled with performances by a pianist of Mongolian origin, a graduate of the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, which she completed under the supervision of prof. Kazimierz Gierzod in 2004. Ms. Maralgua Darjaa presented a selection of works by Polish composers and accompanied the recital by Ms. Katarzyna Dorula, a soprano singer from Podhale, a graduate of the Academy of Music in Krakow, living in the United States since 1992, who presented her interpretation of several well-known works to the public from the repertoire of patriotic songs, such as White roses by Mieczyslaw Kozar-Słobudzki, A Wish by Frederic Chopin, as well as Krakowiaczek by Stanisław Moniuszko.
There was also a traditional Polish feast, where, among the dishes, there were obligatory dumplings (pierogi) and donuts (pączki). This is how the Chicago Polonia celebrated the Independent Republic of Poland.
For its part, the editorial staff of Kuryer Polski from Wisconsin congratulates all those awarded.