A March of Independence - who minds it?
Fr. Ireneusz Skubiś
It has already been 8 years since I took part in a celebration in New York on the occasion of Regaining the Independence by Poland. I remember that a lot of people arrived in an assembly hall and we all were experiencing beautiful moments. There were patriotic speeches and a poignant artistic part. I thought then that Poles probably experience the anniversary of Regaining the Independence by Poland abroad in a more beautiful and deeper way than in their own country.
This year we have celebrated the 93rd anniversary of this national event. During the preparations I noticed that in various environments people were ill-disposed towards one another: that there will be a March of Independence, but also a Colourful March and many other marches and parades, including also marches of groups threatening others that they will not allow for something that they oppose and they will obstruct the way. The reality has gone beyond imagination. Our marches were also attended by newcomers from abroad, among the others, German members of fighting groups. Serious people, professors of universities and parents with their children were walking in the Polish March of Independence. It was to be a multi-generational manifestation of peace, expressing joy of the regained independence. For it is a great reason for joy, happiness and gratitude to God's Providence for the fact that after years of captivity and annihilation, Poland has returned onto the maps of Europe again, and showed that it has got excellent citizens and it is able to revive the reality of its country that the nation will find its enough strength and enthusiasm in order to begin everything anew. It is obvious that those Poles also differed among one another, they also supported one another and they did not agree in everything with one another. But they were united by one thing: Poland was a value of the highest rank for them and that value had to dominate each discussion. Thanks to a wise dialogue they managed to create the reality which started to be called the Republic of Poland. We became an independent country, acknowledged by other countries. The history in the first years after the regained independence showed that Poles can bring up their children, create education, establish various institutions and protect the family. It also showed that in the sphere of economy we can become significant. During twenty years of interwar, Poland developed very much and the society started being well-off. Unfortunately, the difficult time of partitioning of Poland, was returning to Poles but it was seen that we were progressing in our development. After many years and after difficult experiences of the Second World War and a long period of communist totalitarianism, we live in a free country again. There have been many changes in it, but we have not freed ourselves from bad accretions. We are looking the social, political life and we are thinking: how to lead this country towards bigger good? What should we do so that the young generation of Poles would work for their own future more effectively? There are such 'strategic' spheres of life which must be secured well, for example, upbringing and development of young generation, care for its moral level, the matter of a morally healthy Polish family, good education, etc. A problem of work also comes to mind - maybe this one 'at the base'? - the problem of economic life. The foreign policy is also important, including the care about a deserved place of Poland in among countries of the European Union.
As a catholic nation we should care about not only maintaining something which others have always wanted to take away from us and which was our powerful strength - that is, our faith, but we should also care about deepening our faith and read its valuable lesson in the contemporary times. Indeed the image of Warsaw plunged in riots was depressing - in fact, it is not known - what their purposes were. But can we learn what someone means through such 'a dialogue'... and on the Independence Day of 2011 A.D. I remembered words said by John Paul II during the canonization of Blessed F. Maksymilian Maria Kolbe on 10 October 1982 in Rome. The Holy Father said then: '...walking through an assembly hall (of Paul VI - ref. I. S.), I noticed many tears. It is not good if my compatriots are arriving with tears in their eyes for the canonization of their compatriot, because those were not tears of happiness. They were sometimes accompanied by words and cries. Those were cries not only from that hall but also cries from far away. I want to reply to those cries through you who are here (...) I want to reply those who are suffering in any way on this Polish land and I want to address the authority of the People's Polish Republic from here with a request for not causing those tears of people any more. The Polish society, my Nation deserves not despair or depression but a better future'. Let it be my wishes addressed to those who hold the highest posts in our country.