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    Polish Sunday Annual Pilgrimage pays homage to the all-volunteer Polish Blue Army

    Every year, at the Hallerczyk Cemetery, the only Polish military cemetery in North America, where 25 Blue Army soldiers are buried, Polish diaspora from Canada and the USA meet to pay tribute to Polish patriots who trained at the legendary Camp Kościuszko and joined the ranks of Haller’s Blue Army fighting for the independence of Poland.

    During the First World War, Polish immigrants in United States and Canada, led by Ignacy Paderewski, formed a Polish Army in Canada and over twenty two thousands volunteer Polish soldiers trained in Niagara-on-the-Lake between 1917 and 1919. 

    On the second Sunday of June each year the meeting of representatives of Polish communities from Canada and United States including members of Canadian Parliament, Polish Consuls, Mayors of Niagara-on-the Lake and Niagara Falls, heads of Polish-Canadian and Polish-American organizations and veterans takes place. 

    This event commemorates the death of Polish soldiers, who being ready to fight for their country succumbed to the outbreak of deadly influenza during military training. They were buried in the St. Vincent de Paul Cemetery. Their graves provide a lasting memorial to this great patriotic enterprise.

    This tribute is paid also to the people of Niagara-on-the-Lake, who provided these foreign soldiers with unprecedented social, cultural, material, medical and emphatic support while being stationed here and who contributed greatly to the cause of Poland’s independence.

    A four-day visit of Polish representatives to Canada is ongoing. “We can win only if we cooperate. Poland is proud of you. It was first and foremost your effort, the Polish diaspora in Canada and the American Polish community, that you understood how important it is to help your homeland. Soldiers for the emerging Polish army in France were needed and you did something extraordinary then. In the history of the United States and Canada, this is an absolutely unprecedented event”, says the Marshal of the Sejm Elżbieta Witek at the Polish cemetery in Niagara-on-the-lake.

     

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