We all were shocked by this tragic death of the Polish President, his wife, and his delegation to visit the Katyn Forest commemoration. Altogether, 96 people died. Some media described it as a decimation of another Polish elite just like the Katyn massacre.
This comparison certainly comes to mind when we mention the name Katyn. However, we do live in a different time and circumstances. The fact that Poland and its government withstood this tragedy in an organized way is the testimony to this. Some in foreign media were surprised that a democratic process actually worked in Poland. We were not surprised. This is what the Democracy is supposed to be, an organized process in such a case.
What was the most astonishing outcome of this tragedy was the reaction of the world and foreign media reporting on that. It has been many years since Poland has received such coverage in the media in the United States. I assume that the Solidarity period in the 1980s was the last time that the American media have dealt with Poland in such a way.
I have never read in American newspapers, magazines, etc. actual and sympathetic articles about Poland. All of a sudden, the difficult historical relations between Poland and Russian throughout centuries were explained in a rational and factual way. I have read for the first time actual explanations of what the massacre in Katyn Forest was and why it is so important to Poles all over the world.
The question that we Polish Americans living in the United States must answer now is what are we going to do about it? It is a small window of opportunity for us that will be closed quickly.
Are we going to become more actively involved in Polish American life and its organizations that represent them? Are we going to be more proactive in reaching out to English speaking society in presenting to them our history and achievements?
Polish government cannot do it on its own. We as Polish Americans must become more proactive within the American society in promoting our heritage as well as our contemporary Poland.
National Director, Polish American Congress Northern New Jersey
The Post Eagle
May 5, 2010