By the President of the United States of America
The ties that exist between the peoples of the United States and Poland are as old as our Nation itself -- firmly rooted in kinship and fortified by our mutual devotion to the ideals of liberty and self-government, they have withstood the tests of time and adversity. This month, we proudly celebrate those ties, as well as the many contributions that Americans of Polish descent have made to our country.
Our Polish American heritage traces back to the settlement of Jamestown in 1607, when Poles stood among the first immigrants to the New World. Since then, generations of Polish immigrants have built new lives on these shores, inspiring others by their faith and hard work and enriching American culture through the unique customs and traditions of their ancestral homeland. And from the scientific genius of Copernicus and Madame Curie to the brilliant work of artists such as Chopin and Paderewski, individuals of Polish descent have enriched not just America but the world with a wealth of talent and vision.
However, of all the gifts that Poland has given to the world, one of the most valuable and enduring is the example of her people, who have demonstrated extraordinary faith, courage, and resolve in their quest for freedom. Indeed, since the earliest days of our Republic, Americans and Poles have shared an abiding love of liberty and self-government. Brave Poles such as Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Kazimierz Pulaski helped to achieve our Nation's independence. They stood in solidarity with our ancestors because they knew that the hopes of all freedom-loving peoples were invested in this country's bold experiment in self-government. Through their historic Constitution of May 3, 1791, which was modeled after our own, Poles bravely asserted their desire for freedom. That document has remained a cherished symbol of Polish patriotism and courage.
Despite generations of foreign occupation and repressive rule, including invasion by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939 and the declaration of martial law in 1981, Poles have remained firm in their hopes for freedom. Their recent triumph over communist rule and their peaceful transition to a democratic system of government underscored the truth of the timeless refrain: "Poland is not lost while Poles still live."
Today the people of Poland are writing a bright new chapter in their nation's history. We Americans applaud their courageous steps to reform their economy and government, and we reaffirm our support for their efforts. In addition to offering direct financial aid, the United States has been engaged in efforts to encourage private sector investment and the growth of market institutions in Poland, through such vehicles as a housing loan guarantee program, the Polish Stabilization Fund, and the Polish-American Enterprise Fund. They symbolize our commitment to helping Poland establish stable democratic rule and a successful market-oriented economy.
In recognition of the strong and friendly ties that exist between the United States and Poland, the Congress, by Public Law 102 - 115, has designated October 1991 as "Polish-American Heritage Month" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 1991 as Polish-American Heritage Month. I urge all Americans to join their fellow citizens of Polish descent in observance of this month.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixteenth.