October is Polish American Heritage Month

by Klara Z. Wisniewska

October is the Polish American Heritage Month!

What is the history of the Polish American Heritage Month and why is it celebrated?

The Polish American Heritage Month has been celebrated annually since 1981, when it was first organized by Mr. Michael Blichasz in Philadelphia, President of the Polish American Congress Pennsylvania Eastern Division and the President of the Polish American Cultural Center.

Thanks to the advocacy effort of Polish Americans, the House Joint Resolution 577 passed in 1984, declaring August the Polish American Heritage Month. President Ronald Reagan urged all Americans to join in the celebration honoring their Polish heritage in the United States. Two years later the month was changed to October.

Why is October an important month for Polish Americans? It is the month when the first Polish settlers arrived at Jamestown, VA in 1608. Additionally, on October 11, Casimir Pulaski, a Polish nobleman, and the father of American cavalry died.

Another reason for changing the Polish Heritage Month from August to October was to aid participating educational institutions in organizing events during the school year.

In the United States, there are about 10 million Americans of Polish descent, making it the largest diaspora of Poles in the world.

The main objective of the Polish American Heritage Month is to highlight the contributions Poles and Polish Americans have made to the United States, celebrate our achievements and cultural heritage, and share its beauty with community at large.

We, Polish Americans, have always held onto a passion for our culture, values, Poland and our new country, the United States of America. But this month let us show our pride even more by sharing with our networks our cultural heritage, achievements and contributions Polish Americans have made to the United States.

How do you celebrate the Polish Heritage month? Why are you proud to be a Polish American? Let us know by emailing us at pacwash@pac1944.org. We look forward to reading your submissions. We will publish the best ones on our website.

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