One hundred years ago, Ignace Jan Paderewski was born in the eastern Polish Province of Podolia, a region which was then under Russian control.
During his lifetime Paderewski rose to become one of the greatest musicians in the history of the world, and one of the foremost statesmen of the 20th century.
He labored mightily to bring about the restoration of freedom in Poland, and became its Premier in 1919.
He later saw his native land invaded by the armies of Hitler, but with indomitable courage used the last energies of his life to help lead the Polish Government-in-exile.
The work of Ignace Paderewski and Woodrow Wilson laid the foundations for present-day Polish independence. President Wilson, in his January 1918 message to Congress, included in his famous Fourteen Points the declaration that an independent Polish State should be erected - and Paderewski organized thousands of Poles in America as volunteers to fight in support of that cause.
Despite the fact that Poland today suffers under the enslavement of Soviet communism, the flame of freedom which Paderewski lighted remains alive, and burns brightly on this centennial anniversary of his birth.
Poland may have a satellite government, but the Poles will never be a satellite people.
America can do much to aid freedom in Poland - through effective economic and political assistance to the people - and the restoration of freedom in this ancient country is a purpose that will ever be near to my heart and to the hearts of all good Americans. We look toward the day when the men and women of Poland shall stand again in freedom and justice, and we shall hasten, by every honorable and responsible means, the arrival of that day.
(NOTE TO EDITORS. - Senator Kennedy has had a long and personal interest in the affairs of Poland. He visited the country on two occasions, and his brother-in-law comes from a prominent Polish family. On October 1 Senator Kennedy, in an address to the Polish-American Congress at Chicago, outlined a comprehensive seven-point program for the restoration of Polish freedom.)