Pulaski Birthday Commemoration in Savannah, Georgia
Saturday, March 5, 2016
Edward Pinkowski (sitting, center), Jack Pinkowski, and several of the Pulaski Cadets who came all the way from Perth Amboy, NJ.
This year's annual birthday ceremonies honoring Revolutionary War General Pulaski, the Polish cavalryman known as "The Father of the American Cavalry" took place on the afternoon of March 5 on Monterey Square in Savannah, Georgia, at the foot of the monument dedicated to the Polish and American hero. Edward Krolikowski, from the Savannah Gen. Casimir Pulaski Committee, was master of ceremonies. In this role he wore a historically correct replica of the dragoon's helmet standard to the Pulaski Legion, the mixed cavalry-infantry unit organized by Pulaski.
National Hymns were sung to the accompaniment of the Benedictine Military High School band. Congressman Earl Buddy Carter and Mayor of Tybee Island Jason Buelterman spoke briefly but eloquently addressing the debt of gratitude we have toward Pulaski and the values he personified. Such values are still present in the exemplary service performed by our armed forces. Peter Obst read a letter from Dariusz Gizka, Mayor of Warka Poland, where a museum dedicated to Pulaski stands on that family's former estate.
Then wreaths from the Poles in America Foundation, the American Council for Polish Culture, the Savannah Gen. Pulaski Committee, the Polonia Club of Korona, Florida and descendants of the Puałski family of Puałzie, Poland now living in Greenville, S. Carolina, were placed at the monument.
On command, a musket salute was fired in honor of Pulaski's sacrifice on the Savannah Battlefield. This completed the formal ceremonies but a number of people lingered at the site conversing with historian Edward Pulaski and his son Jack about the research that was done on the bones found in the monument and reinterred in 2005. Though not confirmed by a DNA study which was inconclusive, forensic evidence shows that those were the mortal remains of Casimir Pulaski. Mr. Pinkowski and his son, who is the president of the Poles in America Foundation, came from Florida where the elder Pinkowski is in semi-retirement but still doing historical research.
Some of the attendees re-assembled later at the Plantation Club Ballroom for a Polish-style banquet. Among the speakers were Eric Norton, Deputy Superintendent of Ft. Pulaski National Monument (National Park Service), writer Mel Gordon, and Jack Pinkowski. Since this year (on August 12, 2016) Edward Pinkowski will be 100 years old, a cake was served and various version of Happy Birthday in Polish and English sung. The tribute was well deserved as Mr. Pinkowski has devoted most of his life to research and writing about Polish-American heroes and history. The Poles in America Foundation he founded, where his son Jack is president, is intended to carry this legacy well into the future.
During this same weekend Pulaski's birthday was also observed at the Pulaski Museum in Warka, Poland. Wreaths were laid at the statue of Pulaski which is a twin of the one found in the city of Buffalo, NY. In addition, this year in time for this 271st anniversary of Pulaski's birth, his story was re-told in the form of a comic book - what today is also called a "graphic novel." Written by Remigiusz Matyjas and illustrated by Jacek Przybylski this 36 page book tells the story of Casimir Pulaski as a fighter for independence, in Poland and in America. A figure which is given prominence in the story is Franciszka Krasinska, who according to some sources, was also the only significant feminine influence (or perhaps a love interest) in Pulaski's life. In the history of 18th century Poland she is also known as the wife of Duke Charles Wettin of Courland and a leading light in the Bar Confederation, an armed movement which Jzef Pulaski, Casimir's father, co-founded.
An English version of this biographical comic book is planned for publication later in the year. Those wishing to see more information on this subject may access in Pulaski Museum website at: http://www.muzeumpulaski.pl/html/komikspulaski2016.html
The Poles in America Foundation (www.poles.org) and the American Council for Polish Culture (www.polishcultureacpc.org) invite interested parties to view additional information presented on their respective websites.
Ceremony at Pulaski Monument in Monterey Square
1. Edward Krolikowski (center) acts as master of ceremonies.
2. The Knights of Columbus march to the monument
3. Pulaski Cadets from Perth Amboy, NJ
4. Colonia Era re-enactors from the Georgia Coastal Heritage Society
5. Georgia Congressman Buddy Carter at the podium
6. Jack and Monica Pinkowski place the memorial wreath for the Poles in America Foundation
7. A three musket salute is fired in honor of Gen. Casimir Pulaski
8. Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman speaks with Edward Pinkowski (sitting) and Mel Gordon
9. (l. to. r.) Savannah based writers Joan Wilson and Mel Gordon are preparing a historical novel with Casimir Pulaski as the main protagonist
10. Edward Pinkowski (center, sitting), (l. to. r.) Joan Wilson, Jack Pinkowski, Mel Gordon
11. Edward Pinkowski (sitting), Buddy Carter and Jack Pinkowski
12. Edward Pinkowski (sitting), Mel Gordon and Lucie Pinto
13. the wreaths before placement at the monument
14. Edward Pinkowski and the Pulaski Cadets from Perth Amboy, NJ
15. Edward Pinkowski speaks
16. Edward Pinkowski and son Jack
17. Monica Pinkowski, Edward Pinkowski and son Jack. (courtesy of Joan Wilson and Mel Gordon)
18. Edward Pinkowski blows out candles on his 100th birthday cake (courtesy of Joan Wilson and Mel Gordon)