Happy Independence Day!
We call it the "4th of July" but it really is Independence Day. A celebration of freedom, joy and truth. A holiday of individual and national sovereignty, a celebration of human rights. . . As an immigrant from Poland living in America, I enjoy the freedoms that we lacked in the past in the Polish People’s Republic (PRL) with a puppet government controlled by communists in Moscow – freedom of speech, faith, assembly, the right to build your own life, pursue your own happiness, create your own companies, publish your own ideas...
Our founders, the Founding Fathers, won these freedoms in the American Revolution, in which Polish heroes – Tadeusz Kościuszko and Kazimierz Pulaski – also took part. The model of the American republic inspired Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, who came to America as Kościuszko's secretary in 1796, straight from a Russian prison, released by the Tsar after two years behind bars, after the fall of the Kosciuszko Insurrection. They liked equality, having no aristocracy, living in a country of everyone's hard work. They didn't like slavery. Kosciuszko even designated his estate to buy out slaves and grant them freedom. Poet, historian, politician, teacher of the nation, Niemcewicz decided to take the American model as an example for the patriotic education of the nation after the fall of the country and its partitions. Out of this idea emerged the Historic Chants, describing the history of Poland's national heroes, with music and illustrations. During 123 years when Poland was erased from the map of Europe by its neighbors, Russia, Prussia and Austria, the poetry of Niemcewicz remained in the homes, was read and sang in families, continuing the great national traditions of shared history and culture.
Poetry has long played an important role in the definition of the nation. There are many poems praising the beauty of America, of our country. Among my favorites is "America the Beautiful" with a lovely flowing melody. I printed it on cards I gave out along with my poems during the Independence Day Parades where poets rode in a convertible, and celebrated the national holiday with the whole neighborhood. Half of the town was in the parade, the other half was cheering from the sidelines... Alas the city of Los Angeles refused to allow the parade this year. It would not have looked so festive, anyway, if half of the participants would have dressed up as masked bandits...
We have plenty to celebrate and be joyous about. All the best wishes to all poets and poetry lovers on the occasion of Independence Day!
Dr Maja Trochimczyk, President
Red - are the rocks of the Grand Canyon
White - are the mountains, shining with snow
Blue - are the waves of Pacific Ocean
Red, White and Blue - colors of all. Red - is the Earth from which we come White - is the Air that fills our lungs Blue - is the Water inside us, with Stardust Red, White and Blue - connected in all. Red - is pure Love, deep in our hearts White - is the Brightness of our clear minds Blue - is the Peace of well-lived lives
Red, White and Blue - freedom for all.
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