Published: May 21, 2016
“We are indebted to you for battling with your blood the sacred right to decide about the security order of Europe and the entire world! We are indebted to you because it is thanks to you that we built a united Europe. (…) Since there would be no Europe, and no European Union, if not for the Polish sacrifice during World War II,” said President Duda at Monte Cassino.
The official Polish delegation took part in the special ceremony commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the victory of the Second Polish Corps in the Battle for Monte Cassino. Among the official guests was Anna Maria Anders, Senator of the Republic of Poland and daughter of General Wladyslaw Anders who led the Second Polish Corps to victory in the Battle of Monte Cassino on May 18, 1944. President of Poland Andrezj Duda delivered a powerful speech:
“Close your eyes for a second and imagine a line of tanks of the Polish IV Battalion, moving up through the narrow path over the town of Cassino,” he addressed participants of the commemoration event at the Monte Cassino, speaking about the battle fought there by the Polish Army 72 years ago.
“Imagine father Adam Studziński, a chaplain of the II Polish Corps, giving last rites, imagine falling grenades, and the deafening sniper shots. (…) Imagine Polish soldiers, running up the hill. (…) Imagine Sergeant Marian Zawidzki, who, when defending St Angelo from German attacks, saw Polish soldiers about to lose hope, and intonated the Polish anthem to boost their morale, “Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła, kiedy my żyjemy…” (As long as we live, Poland will live) and the lion’s roar followed, as described by General Anders: “Have a lion heart!” (…) And the Polish soldiers went into the fervor of battle, maintaining their positions and emerging victorious!” said the President.
“Many were injured and died, but in the end the Polish soldiers won and triumphed! They left our white and red flag high up on the hills. What a view that was!” emphasized Andrzej Duda, and quoted a fragment of Czerwone Maki (Red Poppies), a famous poem about the Battle of Monte Cassino:
Can you see this row of white crosses?
This is where a Pole honored his vows.
The further, the higher,
The more you’ll find at your feet.
This land belongs to Poland,
Although Poland is far away,
Because freedom is measured by crosses…
The President also addressed the heroes of the Battle of Monte Cassino as follows:
“Honorable Combatants, you and your fallen companions brought freedom to Poland and the entire Europe. Europe was freed first, as you were betrayed in Teheran, Yalta, and Potsdam, which made Poland wait for its freedom for the next 50 more years. But Poland is free today!
It is this anthem about Red Poppies at Monte Cassino was our anthem, often sang in secret, especially during the Stalinist times. This anthem inflamed hunger for freedom in the hearts of the Polish people. (…) Thanks to this anthem, the Polish people stood shoulder to shoulder united in Solidarity. It were the Polish people who gave the entire Europe the inspiration for the demolition of the Berlin Wall.”
“It is thanks to you that we are free! You have given the most treasured gift you could give to the young people, scouts, who watch these crosses, who worship and admire you – that gift being the sense of duty towards their Homeland. This cemetery, so beautiful, facing a Benedictine monastery, is the testimony about Poland. Polish soldiers rest here, including those of Lithuanian, Belarussian and Jewish origins, all united under the white-red flag. How many of them where dying with the words: Long live Poland!” reflected the President.
“We are here today to commemorate and honor our heroes, those fallen and those who survived but are no longer with us,” said President Duda, addressing the combatants who participated in the event.
“We are indebted to you for battling with your blood the sacred right to decide about the security order of Europe and the entire world! We are indebted to you for being able to build a united Europe. (…) Since there would be no Europe, and no European Union, if not for the Polish sacrifice during World War II,” he emphasized. “Your sacrifice and heroism brought us here together and made us who we are. Pride and glory to our Heroes! God bless Poland and the Polish people, wherever in the world they live. God bless our Homeland,” concluded President Duda.