The 12th anniversary of the Smolensk plane disaster is being celebrated throughout the country. President Andrzej Duda paid tribute to the victims in Cracow and Warsaw. PiS (Law and Justice party) President Jarosław Kaczyński attended the celebrations in the capital city. He spoke in front of the Presidential Palace at 9 p.m.
The anniversary celebrations began at 7:30 a.m., when Sejm Marshal Elżbieta Witek, together with the Presidium of the Lower Chamber of Parliament, paid tribute to the victims of the disaster by placing flowers on the memorial plaques of President Lech Kaczyński, Sejm Marshal Maciej Płażyński and the tragically deceased members of the Parliament.
In Cracow, President Andrzej Duda attended the Wawel Mass at 8 a.m. and then laid flowers on the tomb of Lech and Maria Kaczyński. Afterwards, the president visited three Kraków cemeteries: Rakowicki, Salwator and Bielany.
At 8 a.m., a Holy Mass was held in the Seminary Church in Warsaw, followed by the laying of wreaths at the monuments of President Lech Kaczyński and the Memorial to the Victims of the Smolensk Plane Disaster on Pilsudski Square in Warsaw. Afterwards, the participants of the ceremony visit the tombs and lay flowers at the memorial to the victims of the Smolensk disaster at the military cemetery in Powązki.
At 11:45 a.m., Andrzej Duda visited the crypt of the last President-in-exile Ryszard Kaczorowski in the Temple of Divine Providence in Warsaw and at 12:15 p.m. he laid flowers in Pilsudski Square in front of the monuments of President Lech Kaczyński and the monument to the victims of the Smolensk disaster. He will then go to the Bródnowski and Powązki cemeteries, where he also paid tribute to the victims.
Film screenings and concerts take place throughout the day in front of the Presidential Palace.
The celebrations, with the participation of President Andrzej Duda, will end at 7 p.m. with a Holy Mass in Warsaw’s Archicathedral for the victims of the disaster.
At 9 p.m. a speech by the President of PiS in front of the Presidential Palace is scheduled.
When asked by “Gazeta Polska” whether an explanation of the death of the Polish delegation in Smolensk was to be expected, Jarosław Kaczyński said: “On the evening of April 10, I will raise this issue. To answer your question – yes, we will announce concrete measures to be foretaken. But I don’t want to say what they are.”
Delegations of politicians from the Civic Platform, the Left and the Polish People’s Party will take part in local, Warsaw and Krakow remembrance ceremonies.
Saturday marks the 12-year-old anniversary of the plane crash near Smolensk, in which Polish President Lech Kaczyński, his wife Maria Kaczyńska and 94 other people, including many senior government officials and military commanders, have died. On 10 April 2010, a Polish delegation flew to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.