Kosciuszko Day celebration










A couple dozen local and state officials were on hand Feb. 4 to celebrate the birth of the person for whom Poland is named. The group gathered at Peterson Park as members of Polish Youngstown paid tribute to the birth of Revolutionary War Gen. Thaddeus Kosciuszko.

According to a brief talk given by Andrea Cika, director of Polish Youngtown, Gen. Kosciuszko joined the Continental Army in 1776. He is credited with building forts near Philadelphia and had even devised a plan for the Battle of Saratoga, which was a turning point in the war. He also drafted blueprints for West Point that Benedict Arnold later tried to sell to the British.

After the war, Cika said, the general donated his salary to buy and free Thomas Jefferson"s slaves.

She went on to state that Poland Township was once called Fowler"s Place after the first settlers, Jonathan Fowler and his family. They settled on Yellow Creek. After the Revolutionary War, the township, like so many throughout the east, was named after Kosciuszko and Brig. Gen. Casimir Pulaski, a calvary officer who became known as the "the father of the American calvary." Both men were of Polish decent and thus to honor both, Fowler"s Place was named after the two heroes" country of origin.

"That is why we see both generals here, side by side," Cika said. "This is the only location in the country where they are together."

The statue of the two heroes at Peterson Park was completed in bronze by local artist Tom Antonishak, who was in attendance for the event.

Following the short speech and a presentation of proclamations from U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and Sen. George Voinovich, township and village officers took center stage to receive a Polish flag.

The event ended with the release of balloons representing the Polish national colors. Community outreach coordinator Marianne Poprik said, "This balloon launch symbolically spreads the word about Kosciuszko"s influence far and wide."
Photos and Article by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier