“I came to hazard all for the freedom of America.” - General Casimir Pulaski (March 6, 1745 – October 11, 1779).
He grew up in the struggle of Polish patriots against the neighboring powers that sought to annex or assert control over what was at the time the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By the time he was 22, he was fighting against the new Polish King Stanislaw II, who was seen by many as a puppet of the Russians. Pulaski became an important cavalry officer in a series of wars. But by 1775, the conflict had gone badly for the Polish patriots, and he was exiled to France. There he met the Marquis de Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin, who recruited him to come to America, to fight in the Revolutionary War.
If you grew up in Illinois in the 1980s or 1990s (or, if you raised a kid at the time), you probably remember a school and government holiday — the first Monday in March — that most of the rest of the country does not observe.
This holiday is held every year on October 11 by Presidential Proclamation, to commemorate the death of Casimir Pulaski from wounds suffered at the Siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779 and to honor the heritage of Polish Americans. The observance was established in 1929 when Congress passed a resolution (Public Resolution 16 of 1929) designating October 11 as General Pulaski Memorial Day. A Casimir Pulaski Day is celebrated in Illinois and some other places on the first Monday of each March.
The United States has long commemorated Pulaski’s contributions to the American Revolutionary War, and already on October 29, 1779, the United States Congress passed a resolution that a monument should be dedicated to him.
The first monument to General Pulaski was not built until 1854.
A large parade is held annually on October 11 on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Congress passed a joint resolution conferring honorary U.S. citizenship on Pulaski in 2009, sending it to President Barack Obama for approval. He duly signed it on November 6, 2009, making Pulaski the seventh person in USA history so honored.
Source: illinois.gov | wikipedia.org | wbez.org
In 2024 Casimir Pulaski Day in Illinois in USA falls on March 4.