Honorary Consul Deborah Majka at West Point
April 30, 2016
Annual Tadeusz Kosciuszko Observance
1. Tadeusz Kosciuszko Monument
2. Tadeusz Kosciuszko Monument
3. Tadeusz Kosciuszko Monument
4. (l. to r.) _______, Dr. Mieczyslaw Rokosz, Debbie Majka, Peter Obst
5. Debbie Majka, Honorary Consul RP for Southeastern Pennsylvania, at the Hudson River Valley
6. Debbie Majka, Honorary Consul RP for Southeastern Pennsylvania, with cannon
7. The West Point Military Academy Campus
8. On the parade ground, from Superintendent's Box
9. Cadets on Review
10. Cadets on Review
11. Ceremonies at the Kosciuszko Monument
12. Debbie Majka, Honorary Consul RP for Souteastern Pennsylvania at podium
It is a rare privilege for me, a long-time supporter - first time in attendance - to speak at this event dedicated to the memory of Tadeusz Kosciuszko. I am here as a representative of the Polish Republic, its citizen and Honorary Consul for Southeastern Pennsylvania. Living in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, I have long been familiar with Tadeusz and the fact that he spent time in our city during the American Revolution returning later after his release from Russian prison, imprisoned for leading a revolt to regain Poland's freedom. The boarding house where he lodged is now a museum administered by the National Park Service. Having visited there one can feel his spirit which still seems to hover about places he visited.
He was intellectual and introspective, insightful and intense, idealistic and ingenious. By chance or providence he brought the best that Poland had to offer to the American shore.
He was committed to the ideals of the American Revolution that sprang from the 18th century Enlightenment - solidarity, liberty, equality. The American Revolution succeeded because of these ideals - yet Thomas Jefferson stated that to maintain its efficacy the revolution would have to be periodically renewed.
Fortunately, our modern day battles are those of ideas, and are decided by casting votes at the ballot box rather than pulling a trigger and sending out a volley of lead. It is lot quieter but just as effective in settling the issue.
When in the 1980s the Polish people decided that the system which had governed to date, a system imposed from without, was not meeting society's needs and had to be changed, a revolution was launched under the banner of solidarity. The people faced repression, prison, violence - meted out by those in power. Yet ultimately in 1989 an election - the ballot box - changed the way Poland was governed.
George Washington, did not lead Kosciuszko and scores of other known and unknown patriots into battle under some nebulous slogan like "I fight for you." Rather, he and they fought for principles that were later written into the Constitution. They fought for a country where each individual would not be burdened by oppressive laws and taxation. They fought for a system that would give the individual freedom to attain the potential of his or her talents and abilities.
All this was clearly stated in a little book by Tom Paine and called "Common Sense" and common sense is something we need most in these troubling and confusing times.
Kosciuszko joined the fight for an ideal - an attainable ideal. His home country was dominated by overwhelming forces, so he came to America and joined a cause that had a chance of success. By helping the American Revolution he was preserving the hope for future freedom in the homeland. Later, this idea would be enshrined in the words "for your freedom and ours" with which Poles went to fight in support of other independence movements.
It is fitting that we are here at West Point to pay respect to Kosciuszko, the military engineer who laid foundations for a key fortification which played an important role in the strategy of the American Revolutionary War. We pay respect to Kosciuszko - the commander of Poland's national uprising of 1795.
But we would be remiss if we did not also honor the graduates of this Military Academy and the men and women of America's armed forces everywhere who are living up to the ideals - Duty, Honor, Country - which inspired Kosciuszko, Washington and the citizen-soldiers of the American army in battle for individual liberty. Such persons, to paraphrase Tom Paine, deserve the love and thanks of a grateful nation. As it was then, may it ever be so, that men and women of the American armed forces stay true to the principles inscribed so long ago.
13. Debbie Majka, Honorary Consul RP for Souteastern Pennsylvania at podium
14. Debbie Majka with Lithuanian Consul Julius Pranevicius
15. Steve Olejasz, Debbie Majka, Anthony Bajdek
16. Debbie Majka, Honorary Consul RP for Southeastern Pennsylvania with
the Polish Singers Alliance of America, District 7, Brooklyn, NY
17. Liga Morska members place flowers at the Kosciuszko Monument
18. Pulaksi Cadets place a wreath at the monument
19. For his outstanding performance as Commander of the Kosciuszko Squadron
Cadet Mendenhal received this beautiful replica of Kosciuszko's sword