NEW YORK—The Fifth Avenue lit up with white and red colors on Sunday afternoon, as the Polish communities of New York and New Jersey marched down the avenue to celebrate Pulaski Day, wearing the Polish national colors of white and red and carrying white and red banners, flags, and balloons.
The 73rd Annual Pulaski Day Parade took place to commemorate the Polish American hero of the Revolutionary War, General Casimir Pulaski.
Casimir Pulaski was a Polish soldier, nobleman, and politician, who emigrated to the United States in 1777. Known for his bravery in defending the freedom of Poland, Pulaski was accepted as a volunteer in the American army and took part in the Revolutionary War. He defended the life of General George Washington and became a general of the cavalry for his military achievements.
Pulaski, referred to as “the father of American cavalry,” was awarded honorary citizenship of the United States in 2009.
The theme for this year's parade was “Poland, America: Perfect Together.” Various Polish national and local organizations, schools, and dance groups, as well as local residents from New York and New Jersey joined the event. Some wore beautiful traditional costumes and others dressed in the Polish national colors of red and white.
Each Pulaski Day Parade is traditionally led by a grand marshal elected by the Parade Committee. This year, this honor was granted to Stanley Moskal, 32, an American born to a Polish-American family. Moskal is the deputy mayor of Garfield, N.J., and a successful business executive.
The parade was honored by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Polish Consul General Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka, and officials were invited by a dance group to partake in a polonaise—a slow, dignified, traditional Polish dance that was once performed by nobility at balls and grand celebrations.
Many parade participants expressed enthusiasm for the event's message of cultural unity and celebration.
Marek, a student of political science on vacation from Poland, said that this was a great initiative to demonstrate the unity among Polish Americans and to present a positive image of Poland.
Ryszard, a resident of New Jersey, said that the Pulaski Day Parade was a great opportunity to showcase Polish culture that the Poles are proud of.