Poland celebrates its Independence Day as President appeals for "tribute to independence fighters"

Posted on centenarynews.com on 12 November 2013
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Poland marked the 95th anniversary of its independence on the 11th November 2013.

As the Russian, German and Austro-Hungarian empires were dismantled at the end of the First World War, Poland gained its independence - having been partitioned between the three empires previously.

President Bronislaw Komorowski led the nation in marking the anniversary of independence - which balances the commemoration of Poles who have died in conflict with the overall tone of celebration to mark independence.

                                                       Wreath-laying ceremony

Ceremony

On Monday morning in Warsaw's Pilsudski Square, a 21-shot cannon salute signalled the start of the official Independence Day programme.

The speakers of the lower (Sejm) and higher (Senate) parliamentary houses, Ewa Kopacz and Bogdan Borusewicz, Prime Minister Donald Tusk, government officials, veterans and diplomats joined the President in marking Independence Day.
 
Delegates also laid flowers at the nearby Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

                                                       Wreath-laying ceremony

In his Independence Day address, President Komorowski paid tribute to those who had fought for the Polish Second Republic - Poland between 1918 and 1939 - and drew parallels between Poland's independence in 1918 with its democraticisation in 1989 after Communist Party rule collapsed.

The President called on people to take part in the "Together for Independent Poland March", which he led.

"Let us march happily together, let us show our joy and gratitude in our own name and on behalf of those who don't yet know how to exploit their freedom. Those, who haven't yet noticed that they've been living in an independent Poland for the past two decades. Those, who still believe that the goal is winning, and not making good use of, independence".

                President Komorowski leads the "Together for Independent Poland" march

Many of those who took part wore First World War themed uniforms and other dress as parades were held.

                              First World War replica tanks took part in national celebrations

The "Together for Independent Poland" march route led through sites connected with pre-Second World War Poland, with stops outside monuments dedicated to Poland's "founding fathers".

 Tribute paid by Polish President at a statue of First World War commander and post-independence leader Marshal Jozef Pilsudski

At Pilsudski Square, President Komorowski and his wife attended a special service at the St. John the Baptist Cathedral, led by the Polish Army's field Bishop Jozef Guzdek.

Bishop Guzdek Guzdek thanked all Polish soldiers who had "shed their blood in the country's freedom struggles".
 
"It is to them that we owe Poland's resurrection after years of enslavement, and that it is still alive today. Let these celebrations also be a token of gratitude to those who today risk their health and lives to secure our country's external and internal safety - soldiers, policemen, border guards, firemen, and other uniformed services".

Source: The Office of the President of Poland

Images courtesy of the Office of the President of Poland

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News