General Pulaski Memorial Day is celebrated on October 11, on the death anniversary of Casimir Pulaski. He was a Polish hero of the American Revolution. By a presidential proclamation every year on October 11, this holiday is observed to commemorate General Pulaski’s death from wounds suffered at the siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779. The day also honors the heritage of Polish Americans. President George W. Bush issued a presidential proclamation on October 10, 2002, observing the day; President Barack Obama did the same on October 8, 2010; and on October 10, 2017, President Donald Trump proclaimed the day. There is a separate local holiday observed in areas with a large Polish population on the first Monday of March every year called Casimir Pulaski Day.
History of General Pulaski Memorial Day
In 1929, Congress passed a resolution recognizing October 11 as General Pulaski Memorial Day. Each year, a presidential proclamation is issued to renew the resolution. And this has continued every year, except in 1930, since its inception.
The day is commemorated in the United States to recognize Casimir Pulaski, a Polish immigrant and the father of the American Cavalry. Over two centuries ago, Pulaski joined the Continental Army and quickly climbed ranks to Brigadier General. Alongside General George Washington, Pulaski carved a legacy for himself that included building a colonial military as yet undeveloped — the cavalry. His contribution in building the cavalry from the ground up made him the ‘father of the American Cavalry’.
While only 15 years old, Pulaski gained some knowledge of warfare when his homeland of Poland and Russia went to war. He decided to immigrate to the British Colonies after his encounter with Benjamin Franklin in Paris. It was Pulaski’s experience on the battlefield and his courage that made him a favorite of General Washington. Pulaski would not, however, live to celebrate the victory of the war. He was injured in the battle of Savannah on October 9, 1779. General Pulaski died a few days later on October 11. The day also honors Polish immigrants and their descendants who have made important contributions to American society. Generations of Polish have contributed to the growth of the nation in various fields. One can witness Polish excellence in the Armed Forces, skilled labor, innovation, and the arts and culture.
General Pulaski Memorial Day timeline
Casimir Pulaski is born on March 6 in Warsaw.
Pulaski begins his military career as a page of Carl Christian Joseph of Saxon.
Pulaski, his father, brothers, and four others form the Bar Confederation.
The General dies in the U.S. in 1779, having been mortally wounded by grapeshot from the French forces.
General Pulaski Memorial Day FAQs
Is General Pulaski Memorial Day a public holiday?
General Pulaski Memorial Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.
What is General Pulaski Known for?
Many things: In Poland, as the man who fought for freedom in two continents, and is given the title ‘liberation soldier’; in the U.S., he is honored for his aid to the American Revolutionary Forces.
Is General Pulaski a woman?
While Pulaski identified as a man, he did not conform, in terms of biology, to the definition of a man or a woman, so researchers have concluded that he is likely ‘intersex.’
How To Observe General Pulaski Memorial Day
Visit the Casimir Pulaski Monument
If you are in Georgia, you could pay a visit to the Casimir Pulaski Monument. The monument was designed by Robert Launitz, and it is open to tourists.
Read about General Pulaski
You can learn more about General Pulaski by reading Francis C. Kajencki’s "The Pulaski Legion in the American Revolution." Introduce young readers to General Pulaski through David R. Collins’s "Casimir Pulaski: Soldier on Horseback."
Post on social media
Hop on your social media account and make a post about General Pulaski’s bravery. You can use the hashtag #GeneralPulaskiMemorialDay to raise awareness.
5 Facts About Casimir Pulaski
He was exiled
Pulaski was exiled from Poland, after an unsuccessful insurrection against Russian domination.
He was President Washington’s hero
He saved George Washington's life during the battle of Brandywine.
No one really knows when he died
The exact date of his death and the location of his body are disputed.
He is an honorary U.S. citizen
Congress and President Obama in 2009 proclaimed him an honorary citizen of the United States, 230 years after his death.
He died on a ship
He died aboard a ship named "Wasp."
Why General Pulaski Memorial Day Is Important
It celebrates an important figure
General Pulaski Memorial Day honors the father of the American Cavalry. It reminds us of the sacrifices that Pulaski made for the nation.
Honors Polish Americans
Polish Americans have contributed to the social and economic growth of the country. General Pulaski Memorial Day acknowledges and celebrates the community.
Cherishes the diversity of America
America is a heterogeneous society where people from all over the world have found a way to express themselves. General Pulaski Memorial Day gives a nod to America’s diverse culture.
General Pulaski Memorial Day dates