I write occasionally about U.S. postage stamps with the American flag on them, so it was a lovely coincidence this week, that I flipped open my stamp bible and came to the General Pulaski stamp. I am usually a day late, but this time I was right on time.
General Pulaski Memorial Day
On October 11, Americans honor the memory of Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, a courageous soldier of liberty who bravely gave his life in 1779, fighting for America’s independence. The stories of General Pulaski’s heroism during the Revolutionary War have been a source of inspiration for many generations of Americans, and his gallant sacrifice serves as a poignant reminder of the price patriots paid to obtain our liberty.
Pulaski, who was born in Poland in 1745, joined his first fight against tyranny and oppression at age 21, defending his beloved Poland against Prussian and Imperial Russian invaders. In numerous battles, Pulaski achieved fame as a calvary officer, earning promotion to commander of an army of Polish freedom fighters. But the aggressors ultimately overcame the Poles, and Pulaski was forced into exile.
Casimir Pulaksi met Benjamin Franklin in 1777, when they were both in Paris. With a letter of recommendation from Franklin to George Washington, Pulaski soon left for American—to join in the fight for independence. A magnificent horseman, Casimir Pulaski’s experience in fighting against the Russian army in his native Poland made him a great asset in so far as the training and leadership he gave the American troops.
Pulaski showed the same courageous combativeness on American soil that had gained him fame at home. Distinguishing himself in battle after battle, Pulaski earned a commission from the Continental Congress as a Brigadier General, and he was assigned by General Washington to command the Continental Army’s Calvary.
In 1779, during the siege of Savannah, General Pulaski made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his life in battle so that our Nation might win its freedom. General Pulaski’s valiant leadership earned him recognition as the “Father of the American cavalry.”
In the years since his death, America has honored General Pulaski’s memory in many ways, including the naming of counties, towns, and streets after him. Since 1910, a statue of General Pulaski has stood in Washington, D.C., permanently memorializing his patriotic contributions and noble sacrifice.
I came here, where freedom is being defended,
to serve it, and to live and die for it.
General Casimir Pulaski in a letter
to General George Washington
The statue of Pulaski, designed by fellow countryman Kazimierz Chodzinski, was erected in 1910 in Washington D.C.
Photo of Gen. Pulaski statue courtesy of Grundlepuck at Flickr