Observations By Michael A. Szymanski

We wish a very Merry Christmas to all our readers and supporters. Please enjoy all the rich traditions of a Polish American Christmas holiday, and don’t forget that a gift subscription to the Polish Weekly is a gift that will keep giving all year.

Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski met with President Barack Obama at the White House earlier this month. Komorowski was President Obama’s first guest head of state from Central/Eastern Europe, and the two reaffirmed the strong alliance between the two countries. You will find coverage of the event elsewhere in this issue, but in reviewing the information on the meeting, I was again reminded that Poland is still not afforded membership in the visa waiver program that allows others of Poland’s neighbor countries to have their citizens free to visit America without requiring a visa. I am glad that President Komorowski emphasized the inequity of the failure to include Poland in the program, and I remain hopeful but skeptical whether something will come of it. It was ironic to me that the press conference session following the meeting was closed with pleasantries over the exchange of Christmas ornaments. While a beautiful sentiment and something we can relate to, it seemed almost to trivialize the visa waiver issue.

Other topics discussed at the Komorowski/Obama meeting included matters of mutual defense and economic cooperation with allusions to Poland’s status as a natural link between Russia and the West and the business opportunities for American investment in Poland, which reminded me of those aspects of Lech Walesa’s recent remarks during his visit to the Detroit area.

Congratulations to Monsignor Charles Kosanke on the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. Msgr. Kosanke is the Rector of the SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, and has been with the seminary for six years. He is one of the many people who make the Orchard lake Schools the great institution that it is. In reviewing his remarks, my attention was caught by his comment about meeting Lech Walesa some 20 years ago, just before Walesa was elected as Poland’s President. He met Walesa again on the former Polish President’s recent visit to Orchard Lake, and was able to share an old photo of the two of them from their first meeting.

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