THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
GENERAL PULASKI MEMORIAL DAY, 1999
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In the more than two centuries that have passed since the signing of our Declaration of Independence, America has grown from a struggling democracy into the most powerful Nation on earth. But today, even as we enter the new century as a proud, prosperous, and free people, we must never forget those friends who cast their lot with us when the outcome of our bid for independence was unclear. Among those to whom we owe such a debt of gratitude is General Casimir Pulaski of Poland, who gave his life for our freedom on a Revolutionary War battlefield 220 years ago this month.
Casimir Pulaski had scarcely reached adulthood when he joined his father and brothers in the struggle for sovereignty for their native Poland. Though the Polish forces were skilled in battle, neighboring empires outnumbered and defeated them, and Pulaski himself was forced into exile. But soon the young soldier answered another call for freedom -- this time on behalf of the fledgling United States of America. He distinguished himself in his first military engagement in our War for Independence, and the Continental Congress immediately commissioned him as a brigadier general and assigned him to command the cavalry of the Continental Army. Fighting with characteristic valor and distinction, General Pulaski was killed during the Battle of Savannah and earned an enduring place in our Nation's history.
As we honor Casimir Pulaski this year, we give thanks that for the first time, Poles and Americans can proudly observe the anniversary of General Pulaski's death as NATO allies. In the years to come, both our peoples will continue to draw strength from the memory of Casimir Pulaski and from the courage and sacrifice of so many Poles and Polish Americans who have helped ensure the freedom, peace, and prosperity our two countries enjoy today.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Monday, October 11, 1999, as General Pulaski Memorial Day. I encourage all Americans to commemorate this occasion with appropriate programs and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fourth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
# # #