LONDON CELEBRATES THE 90TH ANNIVERSARY OF POLAND'S INDEPENDENCE
On Saturday afternoon November 8th 2008 Polish Londoners and their British
friends will celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Poland's Independence with a
parade led by the Polish Navy Band from Westminster Cathedral to a rally in
Trafalgar Square. Speakers at the rally will include prominent Poles and
distinguished British parliamentarians.
The parade will follow a Mass of Thanksgiving in the Roman Catholic
Westminster Cathedral with a homily given by Poland's Primate, Cardinal
Mr Janusz Sikora-Sikorski, Chairman of the Organising Committee says: "It is
the first time that this Polish anniversary is being celebrated in such a
public way in the UK. Many young Poles in this country wanted to participate
in such a large-scale colourful event. War veterans will attend with their
battle standards. Polish organizations and trade union branches will march
behind their banners. Young and old will march proudly together."
Polish Independence Day commemorates the date, November 11th 1918, when
Poland regained its sovereignty at the end of the First World War. In fact,
Poland had first been a sovereign nation more than a thousand years ago
after it had embraced Western Christianity. However in 1795 it lost that
sovereignty and endured 123 years of bitter struggle for freedom against
three partitioning powers.
When Polish leader Jozef Pilsudski was able to proclaim the rebirth of a
strong independent Poland in 1918 it was important news not only for Poles
themselves, but for Europe too.
Barely 2 years later the newly independent Poland was able to defeat the
Soviet Army in 1920 at the gates of Warsaw and thus saved Europe from
revolution and tyranny.
In 1939 Poland was also the first country to say "No" to Hitler's demands.
Then its pilots, sailors and soldiers fought shoulder to shoulder with
Britain as its most long-lasting wartime ally.
Poland paid a terrible price for its defiance of tyranny. 6 million were
killed and its major cities destroyed. There followed 44 more years of
struggle and deprivation under Soviet rule. Poland only regained its
independence again in 1989 thanks to the Solidarity movement and the guiding
spirit of Pope John Paul II. Now Poland is a member of NATO and the EU. It
is again a democratic state with a successful modern economy and has
restored Polish Independence Day as a national holiday.
Timetable for November 8th 2008:
1330 hrs. Mass in Westminster Cathedral.
Concelebrated by Cardinal Jozef Glemp, Archbishop of Gniezno,
Primate of Poland
Music with Martin Baker, Master of Music at Westminster
Cathedral, and combined Polish choirs from
South London directed by Dr Jurek Pockert.
1500hrs Parade forms up in Ambrosden Avenue, alongside the Cathedral.
At the head of the parade - Polish Navy Band. Followed by
1515hrs March proceeds along Victoria Street, then Parliament Square and
1615hrs Rally begins in Trafalgar Square.
Speakers: HE Jan Borkowski, Secretary of State, Polish Foreign
HE Barbara Tuge-Erecinska, Ambassador of the
Republic of Poland
HE Dr Ryszard Kaczorowski, last President of
Polish Government in Exile
Rt Hon Dr Denis MacShane MP for Rotherham,
former Minister for Europe
Mr Greg Hands, MP for Hammersmith and Fulham
Polish patriotic songs and hymns by the Polish Navy Band, the "Ave Verum"
Choir and the Balham Polish parish choir 1700hrs Polish and British national
anthems - end of Rally.
For further details please contact:
Janusz Sikora-Sikorski, committee chair e-mail
, mobile: 07710 525 672, or co-chair Jan
Mokrzycki, e-mail office@...
or Wiktor Moszczynski, Press Officer,
or mobile 07711812188.
Names of sponsoring organizations on attached page:
Sponsors of the Celebration in London of the 90th Anniversary of Poland's
Embassy of the Republic of Poland in the UK Navy of the Republic of Poland
Polish Catholic Mission Relief Society for Poles MB Grabowski Fund Polish
Ex-Combatants Association Federation of Poles in Great Britain Polish
Women's Benevolent Association Polish Scouting Association Polish
Educational Society Veritas Foundation Polish Social and Cultural
Association Polonia Aid Foundation Trust Polish Airmen Association OPZZ -
Organisation of Polish Trade Unions GMB Union UNISON Global Cell GSM Poland
Street Association Polish Professionals Polish City Club
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