Kosciuszko's will cited at Polish American Congress awards banquet
October 17, 2007
With the Comptroller of New York City William C. Thompson, Jr. as one of the honorees at its 2007 Awards Banquet, the Downstate N.Y. Division of the Polish American Congress presented him with a reproduction of Gen Thaddeus Kosciuszko's last will and testament as a memento of the event.
Just ten days earlier, Comptroller Thompson himself hosted a special reception at City Hall in observance of Polish American Heritage Month and recognized several Polish American New Yorkers for their personal achievements and contributions to their communitiy.
The Congress banquet concluded "Polish American Congress Day in New York" which began with a morning commemorative mass marking the anniversary of the murder of Father Jerzy Popieluszko by Communist thugs in 1984.
Father Popieluszko was marked for death because of the moral and spiritual support he continually gave the SOLIDARITY democratic movement of Poland's striking workers with his monthly "Mass for the Homeland" and fearless sermons from the pulpit.
The mass was held at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Greenpoint, Brooklyn followed by a solemn observance at the monument honoring the heroic Polish priest in McCarren Park's Popieluszko Square.
Also honored with Comptroller Thompson was the Sea League of America (Liga Morska) the first time any organization was so selected. Sea League's president, Szczepan Janeczko, accepted the award on behalf of his organization and its New York City chapters Gdynia 15, Westerplatte and Pomorze.
Individual recipients of the 2007 PAC awards were Msgr. Peter Zendzian, pastor of Holy Cross RC Church in Maspeth and Msgr. Gregory C. Wielunski, pastor of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Ozone Park.
As priests of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, both were elevated to the rank of Monsignor at the same time earlier this year.
Also honored by the PAC was Dr. Elzbieta Jadwiga Wirkowski for her professional achievements in the field of neurology and cerebral vascular diseases. She currently is head of the Neurology ICU at Winthrop University Hospital on Long Island.
Gen. Kosciuszko came to America to serve under the command of Gen. George Washington in America's War of Independence. His special engineering skills were instrumental in the Colonial Army's victory over the British at Saratoga which history records as the "turning point of the American Revolution."
After the war and before he left the newly-formed United States, Kosciuszko directed that all his estate he was leaving behind be used to purchase the freedom of African American slaves.
Ironically, he made his good friend and later president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, executor of his will. Jefferson himself was a slaveholder and Kosciuszko apparently hoped Jefferson would get the message and start by granting freedom to the slaves he owned.
Contact Frank Milewski - (718) 263-2700 - Ext. 105
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