One item we feature this week is another history lesson from Frank Dmuchowski, this time going back to the January uprising of 1863. What strikes my attention is that simultaneously, America was engaged in its great Civil War, a struggle which had a profound influence on our development as a nation. As I write this column, I am also in mind of Martin Luther King whose national holiday we just celebrated. So many different peoples share the struggle for freedom, that once again I am reminded that among all the diversity of cultures and races, we still have more in common with each other than that which exists to separate us.
Speaking of celebrations, we can all be happy at the latest announcement from the Vatican that the Beatification of Pope John Paul II will take place on May 1, 2011. Elsewhere in this issue you will find a number of items relating to our wonderful Pope, including the remembrances of another, closer to home leader, Monsignor Stanley Milewski.
Among the news from Poland, the controversy continues over the Smolensk plane crash disaster that took the lives of so many of Poland’s leaders. The delicate task is to attain a truly accurate assessment of what happened without impairing the perceived trend of improving relations between Poland and Russia. While there has been talk of a joint Polish – Russian investigation, it seems almost inevitable to me that we are headed for a competing Polish investigation as a response to the recently released Russian report which concludes that the crash was a result of pilot error. In reviewing the coverage we have in this issue, it pains me to see the petty political cheap shots between certain Polish officials and leaders concerning each other’s reactions and responses to the Russian report, but I guess that’s politics. Frustrating.
A bright spot in this issue, for me at least, is the item titled “America the beautiful.” This is a story about a classic American “road trip,” and its something I relate to in a very special way because I once spent most of a summer on a solo motorcycle tour of the U. S. I travelled from Detroit to San Diego to Seattle with a brief side trip into Canada, returning to Detroit in mid-September after three months on the road. I was “between jobs” and lucky to have the resources to take a summer off. America is truly a vast treasure, and as author Nikki K. Chołuj notes, we are blessed with a great transportation network. What I always longed for was the opportunity to take the same kind of trip in Europe, including Poland.