CASIMIR PULASKI DAY
Casimir Pulaski Day
Casimir Pulaski Day is a holiday observed in Illinois on the first Monday of every March in memory of Casimir Pulaski (March 6, 1745 – October 11, 1779), a Revolutionary War cavalry officer born in Poland as Kazimierz Pułaski. He is praised for his contributions to the U.S. military in the American Revolution and known as "the father of the American cavalry".
The day is celebrated mainly in areas that have large Polish populations, such as Chicago. The focus of official commemorations of Casimir Pulaski Day in Chicago is at the Polish Museum of America where various city and state officials congregate to pay tribute to Chicago's Polish Community.
This is a separate holiday from the federal observance, General Pulaski Memorial Day, which commemorates Pulaski's death from wounds suffered at the Siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779.
Illinois enacted a law on September 13, 1977, to celebrate the birthday of Casimir Pulaski and held the first official Pulaski Day celebrations in 1978. The bill was introduced by State Senator Norbert A. Kosinski, a Democrat from Chicago, and signed by Thomas Hynes, President of the Senate on June 26, 1977. Chicago Public Schools, Cook County government offices, the Chicago Public Library, Springfield Public Schools, and state-wide public and private schools are closed on this holiday.
Wisconsin public schools also observe Casimir Pulaski Day.
In both Illinois and Wisconsin, banks are closed.
Section 118.02 of the Wisconsin Statutes provides that, "...when school is held or, if the day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, on a school day immediately preceding or following the respective day, the day shall be appropriately observed...." The use of "shall" denotes this as a mandatory requirement. Each public school in Wisconsin must observe Casimir Pulaski Day on March 4. How the day is observed — "appropriately" — allows for some discretion among the schools.
Buffalo, New York also acknowledges a "Pulaski Day," which is held in the middle of July, and is celebrated with an annual parade.
On November 6, 2009, President Barack Obama signed a joint resolution of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives making Pulaski an honorary American citizen, 230 years after his death.
Grand Rapids, Michigan hosts a "Pulaski Days" celebration annually on the first full weekend of October in recognition of General Pulaski and the Polish culture in general.
In popular culture
Michigan-born songwriter Sufjan Stevens titled a song "Casimir Pulaski Day" on his album Illinoise. The song interweaves his memories of a friend's battle with cancer with an account of the holiday as indicated by the lyric: "... in the morning, in the winter shade, on the first of March, on the holiday, I thought I saw you breathing."
Big Black, a Chicago-based post-hardcore band active between 1982 and 1987, have a song titled "Kasimir S. Pulaski Day".
Chicago-based alternative hip-hop artist Kidd Russell titled a song "Pulaski Day" produced by Cisco Adler. The single was released on Pulaski Day 2012, and was featured on the front page of Vevo. The video has a cameo from professional wrestler Colt Cabana. The song is an uptempo track that features lyrics about Chicago in the summer time ... "north beach in the summer time, lake shore drive is on my mind, no matter where I go, the city has my soul, Pulaski Day, Pulaski Day, We are going to party like Pulaski Day!"
Andrew Bird released a song entitled "Pulaski at Night", painting a picture of "Pulaski at Night" and enticing a lover to return to Chicago.
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