Honoring Casimir Pulaski Dayby Representative Daniel Lipinski
Posted on 2013-03-05
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of Polish
and American freedom fighter Casimir Pulaski. In my home state of
Illinois, we celebrate Casimir Pulaski Day, which is observed on the
first Monday of March.
Born in Warsaw, Poland, on March 6, 1745, Casimir Pulaski was a skilled commander who fought against Russian forces in Poland. Based upon his work fighting for freedom in Poland, Pulaski was recruited by Benjamin Franklin to join in the American Revolution. In his first correspondence to George Washington, Pulaski famously wrote, ``I came here, where freedom is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.'' In his first battle of the Revolution, the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, Pulaski helped alter the course of history by rallying a counterattack against advancing British forces that afforded Washington and countless American troops the time needed to successfully retreat. As a result, Washington promoted Pulaski to brigadier general of the American cavalry.
His influence on American independence did not end there. Pulaski introduced some modern military tactics to the American revolutionaries and led troops in numerous battles and sieges up and down the eastern seaboard. He organized the Continental Army's first successful cavalry unit, often using his own money to finance equipment for his men.
On October 9, 1779, during the Battle of Savannah, Pulaski was struck by grapeshot while attempting to lead a secondary charge against the entrenched British. He was taken aboard the USS Wasp and died from his wounds two days later. On October 15, he was buried at sea. Today Pulaski is remembered as the father of the American cavalry and one of the heroes of the American Revolution. He has been memorialized across America, through the naming of towns, counties, roads, and other landmarks.
In 2009, on the 230th anniversary of his death, Congress honored Pulaski posthumously as an honorary citizen of the United States, marking only the seventh time in American history that an individual has been granted such an honor.
This past Saturday, I joined the Polish Highlanders Alliance at their headquarters in Chicago's Archer Heights community to celebrate Pulaski Day. In my address to the group gathered to remember Casimir Pulaski, I praised the long friendship between the United States and Poland, and pledged my continued support for bringing Poland into the Visa Waiver Program.
Today, I ask all Americans to remember a true Polish and American hero who devoted and ultimately sacrificed his life to the pursuit of freedom.