May 1st we will all be able to celebrate the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Among the news from Poland is an item reporting that over 50 heads of state will be in Rome for the highly anticipated event. It still seems hard to believe that John Paul II is no longer with us. Perhaps that is because, in reality, he will always be with us through the lasting impact his life has had on us, due both to our kinship with him as a Pole and to the seemingly incredible influence he exerted on world events. Also among the news from Poland is a comment from Lech Walesa on the relative contributions of Pope John Paul II and the Solidarity movement toward the fall of communism. Some could view Walesa’s comment as controversial, but of course, both factors contributed to the fall, along with many others. As Poles and Polish Americans we can take pride in both the Pope and the union.
We also report that in the end of May, President Obama will be visiting Poland in answer to Polish President Komorowski’s invitation which was extended during Komorowski’s visit to Washington this past December. Hopefully these visits bode well for the possibility of passing legislation that will add Poland to the visa waiver program. A note on the legislation will be found elsewhere in this issue and it is important to write your Senator and Congressman in support. House Bill number H.R. 959 is sponsored by Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, with nine co-sponsors. Senate Bill S.487 is sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, and co-sponsored by Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois. President Obama’s visit to Poland seems a good indication that Obama will sign the law if it passes the legislators. Our article has suggested language to include in your letters of support.
History lessons continue with an article on the battles of Monte Cassino during World War II from Andy Ladak, with an introduction from our own Frank Dmuchowski. What is often thought of as a single battle was actually four separate military engagements with some of the most intense combat of the war, but that is for Andy to tell.
Don’t miss our announcement from the Piast Institute that the Consul General of Poland in Chicago will visit the Piast Institute, 11633 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck, MI, to perform consular duty from Thursday, May 19, thru Saturday, May 21, 2011. More details are in the announcement, and passports are a key part of the services that will be available.