COMMEMORATING THE LIFE OF POLISH GENERAL KAZIMIERZ PULASKI; Congressional Record Vol. 159, No. 151
(Extensions of Remarks - October 28, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1585]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




       COMMEMORATING THE LIFE OF POLISH GENERAL KAZIMIERZ PULASKI

                                 ______
                                 

                           HON. MARCY KAPTUR

                                of ohio

                    in the house of representatives

                        Monday, October 28, 2013

  Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, during this month of October, the American 
people honor the life of Polish General Casimir (Kazimierz) Pulaski 
whose love of liberty, bravery and military prowess in founding the 
American cavalry played a pivotal role in winning our American 
Revolution. Let his timeless story inspire generations to come. May the 
eagles that soar over both our lands--as symbols of liberty--strengthen 
our partnership in freedom's cause. Onward.

       Commemorating the Life of Polish General Kazimierz Pulaski

       Thank you to all who have gathered here today to remember 
     and to commemorate the contributions of General Casimir 
     Pulaski to our nation's victory in the American Revolution 
     and to passing to us the blessings of liberty. As a young 
     child, I first learned his name as the street on which our 
     grandparents lived which was named ``PULASKI''.
       Kazimierz Pulaski was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1745, 268 
     years ago, son of Polish Count Jozef Pulaski and Marianna 
     Zielinska. Within a little more than two decades, he would 
     come to be known as a freedom fighter and ``the father of the 
     American cavalry.'' Through his family in Poland, Pulaski 
     became involved at a very early age--age 15--in political and 
     military activity. He accompanied his father and other 
     members of the Polish nobility to publicly oppose the 
     Prussian, Russian, and Austrian empires' designs on 
     dominating their Polish homeland. Pulaski pushed for Polish 
     independence, free of outside interference. When he was 
     outlawed in his homeland by the Russian empire after initial 
     uprisings failed, he decided to travel to Paris, France, in a 
     self imposed exile. In so doing, he came to befriend Benjamin 
     Franklin, a father of our country, who also had travelled to 
     France imbued with the spirit of the French Revolution and 
     its values of liberty, equality, fraternity. They both were 
     seeking alternatives to the empire-driven political systems 
     of the European continent. Franklin was captivated with the 
     ideas of the Enlightenment as he tried to help lead a 
     fledgling nation, casting off the oppression of Great 
     Britain's monarchy. Franklin was impressed by Pulaski and 
     wrote of him to George Washington: ``Count Pulaski of Poland, 
     is an officer famous throughout Europe for his bravery and 
     conduct in defense of the liberties of his country against 
     the three great invading powers of Russia, Austria and 
     Prussia . . . he may be highly useful to our service.''
       A century before their encounter, new ideas of how people 
     should live, and govern themselves, were brewing and emerging 
     on a European continent fraught with empires and suppression 
     of individual liberty. These ideas were transformational 
     concepts in human history. They revolved around how people 
     should live and govern themselves. The new concepts 
     emphasized democracy not monarchy; equality not subservience 
     nor serfdom; liberty not repression; freedom of thought and 
     reason, not dogma nor emotion; freedom of expression not 
     regimented thought; freedom of press, not propaganda; and 
     full separation of church and state, not theocratic control 
     of government. For those of us living in the 21st century, 
     with our nation an heir of Enlightenment thinking, perhaps we 
     have become so accustomed to our way of life that we forget 
     how radical these thoughts were at the time. Let us remember 
     what a price was paid for their emergence globally.
       Pulaski's life reminds us of that early struggle of our 
     founders to build a new America, casting off the remnants of 
     old empires. Pulaski volunteered his services in the 
     Revolutionary War of the United States. America's founders 
     were about building a brand new nation girded by 
     Enlightenment ideals. That struggle did not happen overnight. 
     In fact we should recall that almost 4 decades after Pulaski 
     first volunteered, the new America was still fighting for its 
     future. The ballad ``Battle of New Orleans'' recounts 
     America's fight to finally drive the British from its 
     territory. You might recall the words from the last great 
     land Battle in the War of 1812 . . .``in 1814, we took a 
     little trip, along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty 
     Mississip. We took a little bacon and we took a little beans, 
     and we caught the bloody British in a town called New 
     Orleans.'' Of course, this year of 2013, our region of the 
     United States is commemorating the 200th anniversary of the 
     Battle of Lake Erie, when Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry 
     defeated the British in Lake Erie, the only time the British 
     Navy has ever lost a battle on the high seas. The British 
     monarchy finally was driven out of the westernmost reaches of 
     the new America.
       So, imagine, Casimir Pulaski fighting bravely 33 years 
     earlier before the War of 1812, at the dawn of the American 
     Revolution. To my knowledge, there are no ballads written yet 
     about his achievements, though they are legendary and worthy 
     of expression.
       Pulaski travelled in 1777 to Philadelphia--America's first 
     capital--a decade before our Constitution was drafted and 
     signed. He wrote to Washington: ``I came here, where freedom 
     is being defended, to serve it, and to live or die for it.'' 
     Washington knew that the colonies had no trained cavalry, so 
     he met with Pulaski and introduced him to Marquis de 
     Lafayette and John Hancock. Pulaski showed off some of his 
     riding abilities, and tried to convince Washington of the 
     superiority of the cavalry over the infantry. And in Sept. 
     1777 Washington persuaded the Continental Congress to give 
     Pulaski temporary command of the Cavalry. On that very same 
     day, Pulaski pushed back the Birdshot at the Battle of 
     Brandywine in which he came to the aid of Washington's forces 
     and demonstrated his brilliant military tactics. He saved 
     Washington's Army from defeat, and some have recorded he took 
     a bullet aimed at George Washington himself. Congress 
     acknowledged Pulaski's leadership and commissioned him as a 
     Brigadier General. He was placed in command of four light 
     cavalry regiments. But, Pulaski as a foreigner had difficulty 
     with the Continental Congress allowing him to fight. So he 
     asked Washington to allow him to start his own legion. He 
     even offered to pay for them. Congress finally agreed. With 
     68 horses and 200 foot soldiers, the Pulaski Legion would 
     become the colonists' first fully trained cavalry. He spent 
     the winter of 1777 to 1778 at Valley Forge with most of the 
     army. He was then ordered to defend Little Egg Harbor in New 
     Jersey and then Minisink on the Delaware; Washington then 
     ordered him to proceed South to Charleston, South Carolina. 
     During the Battle of Savannah, on October 9, 1779, Pulaski 
     was wounded by cannon as he charged into battle on horseback. 
     He fell to the ground, mortally wounded. He died from 
     complications from that wound. But Pulaski was so respected 
     for his courage, even by his enemies, that he was spared the 
     musket and permitted to be carried from the battlefield. He 
     died on Oct 15, 1779 at age 34. There is a Pulaski Monument 
     erected in his honor, on Monterrey Square in Savannah, 
     Georgia.
       In 1791, twelve years after his death, his homeland in 
     Poland adopted a new constitution modeled on that of the U.S. 
     Constitution, which just had been adopted in 1789. The Polish 
     Constitution too was a revolutionary document as Poland 
     became the first nation in Europe to outlaw serfdom. Indeed, 
     her constitution was so threatening to Europe's empires, 
     Poland was wiped off the map of Europe for 126 years emerging 
     as a nation after World War I and the Peace Treaty of 
     Versailles due significantly to the friendship between U.S. 
     President Woodrow Wilson and Polish pianist Ignacy 
     Paderewski.
       Many national recognitions of Pulaski's contributions to 
     America's victory in our Revolution have been accomplished. 
     On October 29, 1779, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution 
     that a monument be dedicated to him. The first memorial was 
     built in 1854 and a bust of Pulaski was added to busts of 
     other heroes in the U.S. Capitol in 1867. In 1910, President 
     William Taft of Ohio unveiled a Congress-sponsored General 
     Casimir Pulaski statue. In 1929, Congress passed a General 
     Pulaski Memorial Day. There is a federal observance of 
     General Pulaski Memorial Day commemorating Pulaski's death 
     from wounds suffered at the Siege of Savannah on October 9, 
     1779. After a previous attempt failed, on Nov. 6, 2009, 
     President Barack Obama signed a joint resolution of the U.S. 
     Senate and House conferring on Pulaski an honorary American 
     citizenship, 230 years after his death, making him the 7th 
     person so honored.
       Today, we, here in the heart of Cleveland, again bear 
     witness and respectfully remember General Casimir Pulaski. We 
     express our gratitude in America's third century for his 
     bravery and vision. And we collectively join together, as 
     eagles fly above both our nations, to say: Long live his 
     memory, long live America, long live Poland and long live 
     liberty.

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