Observations

By Michael A. Szymanski

It seems amazing to me that we are now more than a week into the year 2014. So much has happened and so much is changing. I had missed the announcement that Pope John XXIII is to be canonized in addition to our beloved Polish Pope, John Paul II.
My mind keeps seeing parallels between what is happening around the Detroit area and in the U.S., and what goes on in Poland. As I write, we are in the clutches of a severe cold weather storm, and I see the item in the news from Poland what looks like a far worse storm in the Tatra Mountains in Poland. Winds reached 110 miles per hour and there was massive damage around Zakopane and other areas nearby, but fortunately no loss of life yet attributed to the storm. I can’t help but think of my visit to that locale some fifteen or more years ago. Has it really been that long?
Another news item details the projected shrinkage in Poland’s population, with the loss of labor and a “brain drain” from Poland to the rest of the European Union, while still another item deals with the potential restriction of migration rule changes that may be proposed by England. Over the recent history of expansion of the EU, the subject of migrating labor forces has continued to be controversial, and I am reminded of my brief stopover in London years ago where I met several Polish people who had come to England for economic reasons, some of them planning to stay and some planning to return to Poland after saving up enough money to reach their goals upon returning home.
I give special thanks to Bozena Bienias of Owosso for sharing with us the Holiday related writings of her deceased grandfather, a Polish Army veteran of World War II, Major Edmund Januszkiewicz. Major Januskiewicz writes of his memories of Christmas imagined through a prison surrounded by barbed wire. As I think of what he endured and how he coped with it, I also think of Frank Dmuchowski’s remarks concerning Matt Urban (Urbanowicz) and what Urban endured during World War II that resulted in the award of the Congressional Medal of Honor. What a proud heritage we have.
Don’t miss the announcement elsewhere in these pages concerning the 2014 Frank Filipek and the Lillian & Chester Mitchell Fine Arts Scholarships administered by the Friends of Polish Art. 2014 should be a very good year!

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