Monday, March 03, 2008

Happy Casimir Pulaski Day!

That's right, it's Casimir S. Pulaski Day here in Southern Illinois! Woohoo!

Lest you mistakenly think this is a non-event just because you can't buy a Casimir S. Pulaski Day card at the Hallmark store, you should know that every year, on the first Monday in March, we close the schools and celebrate the birthday of this Revolutionary War hero.

Kazimierz, as he was known in his native Poland, was a nobleman and soldier who valiantly fought the Russians in his homeland and then immigrated to America, where he served as a General in the Continental Army. He was shot in the groin at the Battle of Savannah, died of his wounds, and was buried at sea (or possibly in Savannah -- there is conflicting evidence) without ever setting foot in Illinois.

In fact, he has nothing at all to do with Illinois, except that there's a large Polish-American community in Chicago and they like a nice parade up there.

Downstate we named a town AND a county after him (take that, Chicago) and the Pulaski Store makes some damn fine bbq sandwiches, which could easily be enjoyed while watching a parade on a school holiday if you wanted to.

There are songs written to commemorate General Pulaski ... sort of. Sufjan Stevens wrote this one about his adolescent girlfriend who died of bone cancer on Casimir Pulaski Day. The noise band Big Black has a track called "Kasimir S. Pulaski Day" on their 1987 album "Songs About Fucking" which isn't about Casimir Pulaski, either. It's about a car bombing on Pulaski Road in Chicago. It's not as heartwarming as this one ... even less so if you can understand the lyrics.

You may have gathered from previous posts that we aren't big holiday celebrants, but we did celebrate this one by taking a drive through Pulaski County in the rain this morning. Along the way we passed a long line of cars slowly following a garbage truck down Main Street. We're not sure if it was a parade, or if there was a Casimir Pulaski Day Queen on the truck, but we waved just in case.

Parade or not, we didn't want to miss this opportunity to wish our readers a happy holiday. Everybody Wang-Chung tonight!



Suzanne said...

Ah, I was just commenting on my friend Eddie's blog about Pulaski Day! Suddenly, the fact that there is a Ft. Pulaski in Georgia makes 100% more sense than it did before I read your blog. Shame on me for growing up in the Chicago area and now knowing that the man died in GA!!!

Ev said...

I've got the Pulaski Day tree decorated, the Pulaski gifts wrapped, and we're ready to go outside for the annual polish sausage hunt!

This is my favorite holday of all!

marl said...

there's a pulaski park here in manchester nh - the local poles have parties.

i didn't get anyone presents. :(

happy holiday!1

Kwach said...


I'm afraid the Polish sausage hunt is off. We're having ice again. The sausages will be frozen to the ground until Spring.

Damn, damn, damn.

Suzanne said...

Aw, the polish sausage hunt sounded delightfully naughty.

Anonymous said...

Any burial in Savannah is most always below sea level so.......At sea or, in Savannah is one in the same;) Speaking of Wang Chung. It looks as though the other board (you both) got one and,just like a holiday, I knew it was coming. You have to watch those compatriots who jump from side to side. Pulaski aside. Good to see all is well otherwise with you both.