In several American cities that have a numerous Polonia there are parades to commemorate the participation of General Casimir Pulaski in the American War for Independence. In the southern city of Savannah, Georgia, the Coastal Heritage Society (CSH) organizes an annual commemoration of the Battle of Savannah. It was during this battle that General Pulaski sacrificed his life for the cause of American freedom.
Savannah Battle and Pulaski Observance 2023
11th Tablet on Savannah Battlefield - October 9, 2023
This year, on October 9, the 244th anniversary of the battle, re-enactors in colonial army uniforms gathered on the site to make the march to the field of battle. There were also interested citizens and pupils from the Blessed Sacrament Catholic School. They were led forward by re-enactors and history interpreters Aaron Bradford and David Jones. Edward Krolikowski on his horse Mykonos, impersonated General Pulaski. A squad of re-enactors fired the traditional musket salute to honor the fallen. Later, a shot from a cannon shattered the air.
Once assembled on the field the participants listened to remarks voiced by Mayor of Savannah Van R. Johnson. He was followed by a representative of the Sons of the American Revolution, and Ms. Elizabeth Jeanty from the Haitian American Historical Society who spoke about the volunteer soldiers from Haiti who fought for the Americans in the battle.
Three new tablets were dedicated on the field this year to honor participants in the War for American Independence. Robert Billard and his son Robert Billard, Jr. spoke about their ancestors, Robert Collins and Robert Collins, Jr. who had participated in the 1779 Battle of Savannah. Each of these colonial era soldiers was honored with a tablet.
Peter Obst from the American Council for Polish Culture read a letter from Piotr Glinski, Poland's Minister of Culture and National Heritage. This letter addressed the dedication of a tablet to Peter Zabriskie (Zaborowski) sponsored by the Polish National Foundation of Warsaw, Poland. The minister stressed the shared history and close cooperation between Poland and the United States. He mentioned that Zabriskie hosted Washington and military staff in his house in Hackensack, New Jersey. Washington made his headquarters there from November 13 to 17, 1776 after withdrawing from Fort Lee.
The minister also graciously thanked the organizers of the event, which was the Coastal Heritage Society of Georgia with participation of the American Council for Polish Culture Pulaski Committee headed by Edward Krolikowski. He acknowledged the role of the Polish National Foundation in Warsaw which sponsored the Zabriskie tablet and the brunch that followed the ceremony. Over 200 persons came to enjoy some great southern food in the Locomotive House of the Railroad Museum next door to Battlefield Park.
This was the eleventh tablet to be sponsored by a Polish or Polonian organization which acknowledges the Polish presence in the American War for Independence. News has it, that there will be a 12th tablet installed in 2024. All are welcome at the commemoration on October 9. More information may be had through the website www.poles.org belonging to the Poles in America Foundation started by historian Edward Pinkowski. Though he is gone, his legacy lives on. Edward Pinkowski inspired commemorations for Pulaski and his contribution to American freedom way back in 2007, first in Washington and then in Savannah.
Marchers assemble in the Savannah City Museum parking lot
Half way to the battlefield - the officer in charge, Aaron Bradford - explains the course of events
Savannah Mayor Van R. Johnson speaks; Emily Beck from the CSH is on the far left
Edward Krolikowski, as Pulaski, on his horse Mykonos
One shot was fired from this colonial era naval gun
There were over 200 persons at the ceremony including kids from Blessed Sacrament Catholic School
Ladies served a delicious brunch
Each table had food and our sponsor's sign