Happy Independence Day!
We call it the "4th of July" but it really is Independence Day. A celebration of freedom, joy and truth. A holiday of individual and national sovereignty, a celebration of human rights. . . As immigrants from Poland in America, we enjoy the freedoms that we lacked in the past in the Polish People’s Republic (PRL) with a puppet government controlled by communists in Moscow – freedom of speech, faith, assembly, the right to build your own life, pursue your own happiness, create your own companies, publish your own ideas ...
Our founders, the Founding Fathers, won these freedoms in the American Revolution, in which Polish heroes – Tadeusz Kościuszko and Kazimierz Pulaski – also took part. The model of the American republic inspired Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, who came to America as Kościuszko's secretary in 1796, straight from a Russian prison, released by the Tsar after two years behind bars, after the fall the Kościuszko Insurrection. They liked equality; having no aristocracy to rule over a country built by everyone's hard work. They didn't approve of slavery. Kosciuszko even designated his estate to buy out slaves and grant them freedom.
Niemcewicz decided to take the American model as an example for the patriotic education of the nation after the fall of the country and its partitions. Out of this idea emerged the Historic Chants, describing the history of Poland's national heroes, with music and illustrations. The great ladies of the Czartoryski family, including Countess Chodkiewicz describing the heroic deeds of General Karol Chodkiewicz in the 17th century, participated in the preparation of this 19th-century hit (over 30 editions).
We had among us in the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club, a great-great-great-great-granddaughter of the great general, Ewa Chodkiewicz-Świder, an excellent artist. Like her, we are the continuators of the great patriotic tradition of Poland, but also of the great patriotic tradition of the USA, our second homeland.
All the best wishes to our members, guests, and friends on the occasion of Independence Day!
Dr Maja Trochimczyk, President