Dziennik Chicagoski -- January 05, 1894Poles Dedicate 1894 to Kosciusko (Editorial)
Kosciusko's centennial has begun. That it should be honored properly by American Poles is the opinion expressed by the Polish-American press. This matter was taken up by our journal and our colleagues Kuryer Polski, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Wiara i Ojczyzna, and Zgoda. Later on other Polish newspapers published long and short articles on the subject.
That the one-hundredth anniversary of the memorable year in our history will be observed is certain. Our public realizes that this year is very dear to the Poles living in America because it is the one-hundredth anniversary of the insurrection of the Polish people--a year with which the name of the Polish-American hero, Thaddeus Kosciusko, is very closely connected. Our duty, therefore, not only as Poles but also as American citizens, is to elevate and honor 2the name of this undaunted hero and unblemished patriot.
At present, the Polish element in America is favorably disposed toward this matter, and this is proved in the special New Year issue of our journal. In this issue we have presented not only our own opinion but also the opinions of many outstanding Poles belonging to many camps. These opinions express patriotic feelings; all of them stand for unity and co-operation. Some of our leaders declared openly that Kosciusko's centennial should be honored specially. In other words, the opinion of the public is prepared. We should, therefore, take it for granted that the American Poles will observe Kosciusko's centennial in some special manner. The question is, How?
This question should be settled as soon as possible, since March 24th (one-hundredth anniversary of Kosciusko's oath of allegiance) and April 4th (one-hundredth anniversary of the battle at Raclawice)--the commemorative days on which celebrations will be held--are very close. We also should also be aware that 3special preparations must be made. Attention should be paid to the present economic conditions, that is, the depression which affects us so painfully, and to the resulting need for humanitarian work. The celebration of Polish Day should also be taken into consideration. Finally, we should have in mind other projects, which have been started but which are not yet completed--such as participation in the Lwow Fair in 1894, which must be financed [by us]. These are important matters and should be attended to.
From these considerations, we can draw the following conclusions:
(1.) Since we held a magnificent Polish Day celebration only a few months ago--about which the echoes are still reverberating throughout Europe--it would be superfluous to stage another ostentatious parade, a demonstration of the same nature; the more so because it is very doubtful whether we could stage an-other demonstration as magnificent and ostentatious as the last one.4
(2.) That hard times and other causes will justify us if we desire to honor this memorable year less ostentatiously, providing that our object is not imposing demonstration, but practical usefulness.
Yes, such should be the character of honoring this memorable year in America. This is our opinion. It should be honored by action rather than by demonstrations. The question arises again, What kind of action?
Before answering this question, we will first present suggestions submitted by other Polish newspapers for honoring Kosciusko's centennial. Wiara i Ojczyzna--as suggested in articles written by Mr. J. Kromka [of Detroit], president of the Polish Roman Catholic Union, and B. Klarkowski, the Union's secretary--recommends harmony, co-operation, brotherly love. It also reminds us to make donations for Kosciusko's Monument, finally proposing a patriotic celebration in which all Poles should participate. Besides this, Wiara i Ojczyzna, in a series of articles, recommends a general Polish mass meeting in the year of 1894--an event 5about which there was so much publicity last year. Zgoda appeals to its readers in the same manner (with the exception of the "mass meeting," which is not mentioned). It proposes a magnificent demonstration and even suggests that the January celebration should be suspended in order to make this celebration more magnificent (and this is a practical suggestion). Kuryer Polski has no program.
Finally, it appears that the most practical program is the one presented by Dr. K. Midowicz in his article in our New Year issue. He proposes a commemoration on March 24, 1894 of the oath of Kosciusko, which we should celebrate, and that simultaneously we should hold a Polish mass meeting at which we could discuss our problems. He also proposes the creation of a nucleus which would bind us together.
In view of these propositions, what is the program of Dziennik Chicagoski?6
Our program is similar to that of Dr. K. Midowicz, that is, less public demonstrations and more action--this is our policy. If it is possible to erect Kosciusko's Monument in Chicago this year, it would link action with public demonstration most properly. If this is impossible on account of financial or technical difficulties, if the erection of the monument must be delayed a few years, then let us honor Kosciusko's centennial by some other means--a Polish mass meeting preferably.
Such a mass meeting, properly arranged and conducted, will in reality be an undertaking of real and great benefit to us Poles.
We have so many important problems which should be taken under consideration! We have problems which concern not only the Poles in America but also our countrymen in Europe. We are greatly in need of some kind of representation. Acknowledgment by the public that certain good causes deserve general support and public control would be very beneficial. We could write continually 7about the great benefits of a Polish mass meeting, at which our representatives could discuss our common needs. The benefits are obvious, and therefore such a gathering not only would be most proper but would also serve as the best and most beneficial means for honoring Kosciusko's centennial.
Such a mass meeting would not constitute a public celebration, yet it would provide a splendid opportunity for the commemoration of such a solemn event as Kosciusko's Oath, as suggested by Dr. K. Midowicz.
The result of the proposed Polish mass meeting may be a great Polish organization of political character, embracing and controlling all Polish factions. We have heard and read about the plan for forming a Polish League. It is possible that the proposed League may become the nucleus so ardently desired by the public.8
However, we may be confronted with the objection that there is no time for all these projects. Indeed, three and a half months is not sufficient. If it is so, then let us have the mass meeting later on.
Finally--and this is improbable--if we could not, from lack of moral strength, perseverance and charity, get together for mutual consultation and creation of something great, let us do something smaller. But let us have action.
Let us organize a Kosciusko's Educational Society on March 24 which would--like "Macierz" in Galicia and Silesia, and the Association of Peoples' Reading Rooms in the province of Posen--encourage reading of Polish literature throughout America, publish popular books and help Polish parochial schools. Such activity would be a part of the work of the Polish League; it would probably belong to one of its departments. If the League cannot be organized, let us have at least one of its most essential departments.9
One way or another, our public should honor Kosciusko's centennial with some kind of accomplishment. Demonstrations, speeches, and parades will be forgotten, but an accomplishment will remain as testimony of benefits rendered by us and our descendants.
To action! Let us honor Kosciusko's centennial. This is our appeal to every honest leader of our society.
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