John F. Kennedy photo

Pulaski Day Message from Senator John F. Kennedy

October 02, 1960

To Gen. Casimir Pulaski, the cause of freedom was indivisible. It was worldwide. It was the cause of good men, everywhere - and therefore Pulaski came to America, to fight side by side with the untrained and ill-equipped patriots of George Washington's army, and finally, 181 years ago, to sacrifice life itself on the altar of American independence.

Today the people of Poland need the help of America. Today freedom in Poland should be the concern of freemen everywhere, as freedom in America was the concern of the Polish patriot, Pulaski, in his generation.

If men and women are in chains, anywhere in the world, then freedom is endangered everywhere. Without a free Poland there can be no just and enduring peace - and therefore did Woodrow Wilson make Polish freedom a part of his Fourteen Points.

It should be one of the very first responsibilities of the next President of the United States to announce to the world a spefific course of action to aid the restoration of freedom in Poland and the captive nations. Our delegates at the United Nations should have permanent instructions to press for the restoration of free elections wherever Communist imperialism has denied them. Our economic strength should be used to strengthen the freedom-loving people of Poland in their struggles, and whenever our country participates in a diplomatic conference involving European affairs, we should again and again raise this issue of freedom.

Above all, we must develop our defense position as the first of any nation in the world.

Only through action - not through mere words - is it possible for us in this generation to repay the debt which we owe to Casimir Pulaski and the patriots of his day. Until free Poland rises again, America's debt stands unredeemed.

John F. Kennedy, Pulaski Day Message from Senator John F. Kennedy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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